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Grand Island pair pleads not guilty in assault on deputy

A Grand Island man and his girlfriend were arraigned Thursday afternoon in Erie County Court on charges related to an August attack on a county deputy who was responding to a traffic stop.

Sammy O. Abdellatif, 22, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder of a police officer, a Class A felony, and misdemeanor aggravated harassment. Judge Kenneth F. Case ordered Abdellatif to continue to be held without bail, although Abdellatif’s attorney said he intends to make a written bail application in the coming weeks.

Brittany Ashley-Graser, 20, also is charged with attempted murder of a police officer and with assault with intent to injure an officer. She, too, pleaded not guilty and is now free on bail, which was set at $20,000 cash or $50,000 bond.

Abdellatif attacked Deputy Jason Clark Aug. 24 after a traffic stop on East River Road near Whitehaven Road and, in the scuffle, the two men fell down a bank, said Assistant District Attorney Nathanael C. Kapperman. There, Abdellatif allegedly was choking Clark into unconsciousness when a passerby intervened and broke up the fight.

Ashley-Graser allegedly attacked the passerby when he was trying to break up the fight.

[Related: Deputy attack suspect's mom said incident is totally out of character]

Kapperman said the deputy and Abdellatif  were known to each other. He told the judge that on July 18, Clark stopped Ashley-Graser’s vehicle for a broken light and, when she refused to give her name or license, he had the car towed. He said Abdellatif then called dispatch and threatened Clark, saying “he would murder his (expletive) straight up” the next time they met. He later was charged with making the threats.

The August encounter occurred after a car passed the deputy repeatedly and someone hollered threats out the window.

[Related: Grand Island man accused of trying to choke deputy]

Thomas Eoannou, representing Ashley-Graser, acknowledged his client jumped into the fray that resulted, but “that’s because the so-called Good Samaritan was punching Mr. Abdellatif.”

He noted she also has lost her job at 7-Eleven because of her arrest, after working there for four years.

Both defendants are scheduled to return to court Nov. 28.

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