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Suffolk Officials Deny Police Assaulted Local Mentoring Program Head In Ambulance

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone
Richard Drew
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone

Suffolk County officials have denied allegations that police assaulted a woman who tried to ride in an ambulance with a shooting victim.

A man was shot at a graduation party in Dix Hills last month. Cindy O’Pharrow, president of Cops N’ Kids Long Island, a police mentoring program, said his family asked her to join the victim in the ambulance to the hospital. She said police refused, cursed at her and hurt her arm when they removed her from the ambulance.

Acting police commissioner Stuart Cameron said at a news conference that uninjured civilians are not allowed in ambulances. He said O’Pharrow’s claim of physical abuse is false based on dashboard camera footage.

“It looks to me as though they took great care to put her carefully down on the ground so that she would not be injured. So essentially, they were facing an untenable standoff. She wouldn't get out and the fire department wouldn't leave with her in there,” Cameron said.

In a press conference Friday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone backed up Cameron.

“The evidence gathered in this investigation reveals that the allegation that officers physically assaulted this individual for no reason is false,” Bellone said.

Cameron said an internal affairs investigation into O’Pharrow’s complaint is ongoing.

O’Pharrow plans to sue.

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.