A former NYPD officer was ordered by a Brooklyn judge to resign from his job and attend a one-on-one mediation counseling session with the Coney Island man he assaulted over a spilled drink.
O'Keefe Thompson admitted on Tuesday that he beat up Raymond Crespo on Mermaid Avenue on July 8th, 2017, causing a concussion and cracked teeth.
In exchange for Thompson's plea to misdemeanor assault charges, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun sentenced him to a conditional discharge. Besides dodging time behind bars, Thompson has to attend two restorative justice sessions and immediately resign from the force.
Thompson, 31, officially quit the police department on Monday at noon, according to defense attorney Michael Martinez.
During one of the mediation sessions, Thompson will have to face Crespo and apologize.
"I am clearly nervous and don't want to see this guy," said Crespo, 24, outside of court with his mother Emily Rodriguez and Rev. Kevin McCall with the National Action Network by his side.
"In order to have closure, this is the best opportunity for me to speak my mind and find out why this had to happen," said Crespo.
The assault occurred when Crespo's friend noticed police officers nearby and became worried about an open container summons. He knocked Crespo's cup of alcohol out of his hand, and when the cup rolled near Thompson, the officer demanded that Crespo pick it up. Crespo refused and Thompson reportedly threatened Crespo by saying, "I'm from Brownsville, and I will f--- your a-- up," before physically assaulting him.
Crespo was treated for his injuries at a nearby hospital and filed a complaint against Thompson.
The following day, after Thompson finished a shift at the 60th Precinct, he showed up in Crespo's neighborhood to make a peace offering with a bottle of liquor and intimidated him to drop the complaint by displaying a firearm, prosecutors said.
An argument ensued in front of several witnesses that was captured on surveillance video, according to prosecutors.
Crespo and his family were forced to move because they were "terrified" that Thompson would come back again, said Rodriguez.
Rev. McCall recommended the restorative justice sessions to prosecutors for this case as an act of building community policing.
"This is a message to all police officers that you're not just going to get community service and a slap on the wrist by the district attorney," said McCall, who wants restorative justice implemented with all police misconduct cases.
In 2016, after a jury convicted ex-NYPD Officer Peter Liang for causing the death of Akai Gurley in November 2014, Justice Chun sentenced Liang to 800 hours of community service.
If Thompson took his case to trial and was convicted, he faced up to four years in prison for intimidating a witness—the top charge in the indictment. Thompson declined to comment as he left the courthouse.
"I'm happy he pleaded guilty and is no longer going to be on the force and will no longer be able to hurt another person's child," said Rodriguez, who suggested Thompson "needs anger management."
Crespo's civil attorney Tahanie Aboushi filed a lawsuit in November against the city, seeking an unspecified amount for for excessive force, assault, retaliation and other claims.
Christina Carrega is a Brooklyn native who dedicated her journalism career to telling stories surrounding the criminal justice system. When Christina's not reporting hard news, she writes for a lifestyle website she co-founded called 32Letter.com and enjoys traveling.