One police officer from Nassau County, New York will likely receive little more than a slap on the wrist for drunkenly pointing his service weapon at a bar manager.
"I had a drunk cop pointing a loaded gun at the back of my head -- he's still on the force?” said Charlie Ball, the manager. “This is crazy."
Robert McDonald, the attorney representing police officer Richard Hefferon, disagrees. "This guy has a stellar record," McDonald argued. "One night he made a very bad mistake. After that, he didn't run away from that mistake; he addressed it."
Hefferon pleaded guilty to second-degree menacing and reckless endangerment, both misdemeanor crimes. Hefferon is expected to face virtually no punishment whatsoever for his crimes. He will likely not face jail time and he still has his job. He will not be able to carry his firearm, for what it’s worth.
It is unclear how Hefferson will be useful as a police officer if he’s unable to use his firearm on the job. Considering the recent court ruling that police officers are under no obligation to protect citizens, Hefferon’s new role on the force might include a lot of thumb-twiddling.
But perhaps there’s a silver lining to this story. Based on the half-hearted slap on the wrist, civilians should theoretically be able to enjoy equally lax sentences for drinking too much alcohol and pointing guns at strangers – assuming, of course, that prosecutors aren’t showing favoritism to police officers who commit crimes.
Nassau police raised eyebrows several years ago when another officer drunkenly and “unlawfully” shot an unarmed police officer. That officer was never charged with a crime for his actions Perhaps the secret to getting away with crimes in Nassau County is to have a badge and a few too many drinks.
Do you think that the punishment levied against Hefferon was fair? Do you think that the prosecutors were giving the officer unfairly lenient treatment?