RIVERHEAD, N.Y. – Four members of a Fire Island police department were arraigned Tuesday in connection with what prosecutors say was the brutal beating of a New Jersey man in police custody in 2005.
Suffolk prosecutors said the charges stem from a vicious attack on Samuel Gilberd, who was taken into Ocean Beach police headquarters after being kicked out of a bar.
Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla said Hesse beat Gilberd “to the extent that he suffered extensive injuries” including a ruptured bladder that required emergency surgery.
Acting Police Chief George Hesse faced the most serious charges, including gang assault and first-degree assault, each punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Officers Paul Carollo, Arnold Hardman and William Emburey face a range of lesser felony charges. All four men pleaded not guilty before County Court Judge Barbara Kahn, posted bail and were released.
Hesse’s attorney, William Keahon, said his client was innocent and that Gilberd was violently drunk that night. Keahon said Gilberd hurt himself by “falling and hitting a number of items.” He said Gilberd made up the charges in order to help a civil suit he has filed against the village.