An off-duty Buffalo police officer is under investigation for allegedly attacking a security guard for refusing to let him park in a space reserved for ambulances, authorities said.
After allegedly beating up the guard, Central District Officer Maurice W. Abram walked back to his vehicle and punched his own wife in the face while she held a baby in her arms, according to an official with the security force that employs the guard.
Several citizens who witnessed the incident earlier this summer at a Delaware Avenue medical building have given statements to investigators, police sources said Tuesday.
"On top of being beaten up for not letting the officer park in an ambulance zone outside a medical building, the guard was arrested," said Rick J. Giermata, president of Buffalo Protective Services, which employs the guard, Vernon Fryer.
Immediately following the alleged assault, Abram stormed back to his vehicle and hit his wife, Idella Abram, also a Buffalo police officer, blaming her for the incident, Giermata said.
"When the smoke cleared and Vern was placed in a patrol car, the off-duty officer returned to his vehicle and punched his wife in the face while she was holding a baby," Giermata said, quoting from the witnesses.
"We have many people who witnessed this. He said to his wife, 'See what you made me do? This is your fault,' " he said.
The attack occurred at medical offices in the 1200 block of Delaware. "The people who witnessed it were shocked and appalled," Giermata said.
A charge of harassment against Fryer was dropped in Buffalo City Court in the days following the incident and the court records have been sealed from public viewing.
"This whole situation could have been avoided if the officer had produced his police identification," Giermata explained. "We extend professional courtesy to officers because we need the police as backups when we have problems."
When Abram, a 17-year police veteran, refused to produce his identification, Fryer walked over to a telephone at his security station in the lobby of the building to call police, Giermata said.
"He was calling to report someone was pretending to be a police officer and was parked in an ambulance zone and was acting irate," Giermata said. "That's when the officer ripped the phone off the wall, ripped Vern's uniform and bounced and banged him around." Giermata provided the security guard with a lawyer.
Police officials have confirmed that Abram is under investigation by the department's Professional Standards Division and that statements have been obtained from witnesses.
Fryer and members of his family also are consulting an attorney, according to Ida Fryer, the guard's mother.
In 1996, Abram shot and wounded Edwin Crespo in the thigh during an on-duty confrontation on the West Side. Crespo, the brother of Buffalo Police Officer Benjamin Crespo, was arrested on a charge of felony assault, which later was dismissed.