October 11, 2006
By DENISE BUFFA
White Castle tragedy.
The blood-alcohol level of a cop beaten at a White Castle - and then mortally wounded by a fellow cop - was more than three times the legal limit, greater than originally thought, an autopsy report says.
"The officer's judgment was so obliterated here that the defendants feared for their safety," said lawyer Rudy Velez, who represents Jonathan Ayala, one of six men charged in the Jan. 28 beating.
Mark Heller, the lawyer for suspect Edwin Rivera, said, "If the guy was so drunk, and he had a gun, and my guy did not hit him and bring him down, he might've shot and killed a lot of people."
But Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, who showed up along with 75 cops to support the late Officer Eric Hernandez's family at a pretrial hearing in The Bronx, dismissed his drunkenness as irrelevant.
"That does not give them the right to set upon this citizen," he said.
The lawyers and Lynch spoke after the hearing.
Hernandez's blood-alcohol level was .289, more than three times the legal limit of .08, during the fight and subsequent accidental shooting outside, according the report.
A cop shot Hernandez when he refused an order to drop his gun. The cop didn't know Hernandez was a fellow officer.