BUFFALO, NY-- A Buffalo Police Officer, accused of assaulting a person in custody, has been arraigned in court.
Joseph Hassett, 32, is accused of causing physical injury to an individual in a cell block under Buffalo City Court on March 18, 2017, as well as official misconduct, offering a false instrument for filing and making a punishable false written statement. .
The victim was treated for injuries at the Erie County Medical Center.
Hassett's attorney Timothy W. Hoover released the following statement following his indictment last week.
“Joe Hassett is a decorated Buffalo Police Officer who serves the City of Buffalo and its citizens proudly and with honor. He is innocent, because he did nothing wrong, his limited use of force was entirely justified, and he did not falsify anything. We firmly and respectfully believe that wherever and whenever his trial takes place, he will be acquitted of all charges.”
“We asked for a speedy trial, which was set to begin in Buffalo City Court on November 30. There had been months of litigation, the expenditure of extensive judicial resources on the case, and extensive preparation by Officer Hassett for trial. Forty-eight hours before the trial started, without any advance notice to Judge Fiorella or Officer Hassett, and without providing Officer Hassett the opportunity to testify before the grand jury, the District Attorney’s Office obtained an indictment on the same exact misdemeanor charges.”
“The same charges were filed three months ago. We are not aware of any instance where a misdemeanor indictment mechanism was used two days before trial, to prevent the trial from going forward. It is unusual if not unprecedented.”
“The District Attorney’s Office had the option to re-file the official misconduct charge before Judge Fiorella, so that the trial could promptly proceed before him on Thursday. It declined to do so.”
Hassett is currently suspended by the Buffalo Police Department.