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Buffalo officer accused of tripping suspect arraigned on 5 misdemeanors

Buffalo Police Officer Joseph Hassett pleaded not guilty in State Supreme Court to five misdemeanor charges connection with a March 18 incident involving a person in custody.

Hassett, 32, was indicted on two counts of assault in the third degree and one count each of official misconduct, offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree and making a punishable false written statement.

Hassett, who has been suspended from his job until his case is resolved, is accused of tripping a suspect when he was taking the man to Central Booking. The suspect suffered a head wound and was taken to ECMC, where the cut required five stitches. The officer also is accused of filing false paperwork about the incident.

District Attorney John J. Flynn said he had the case presented to the grand jury after a Buffalo City Court judge dismissed the official misconduct charge, which Flynn felt should not have been dropped.

Justice Russell P. Buscaglia set Jan. 31 as a return date to hear motions in the case and allowed Hassett to remain free on his own recognizance.

Decorated Buffalo officer charged with assault, accused of tripping suspect

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