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Altercation: Ferrari owner & NYPD Officer


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Police Officer Felix Recio is filling out a ticket for Mr. Chabbott’s car for parking in a no standing zone, for not having a registration sticker, and for not having an inspection sticker, according to an NYPD spokesman and the criminal complaint.

Officer Recio told Mr. Chabbott “I’m writing you a summons. Please stand on the sidewalk,” according to the criminal complaint.

Mr. Chabbott, 28, of Midtown South, first tried to snatch the summons out of Officer Recio’s hands, then walked inside 147 Mercer Street, the address for The Mercer Hotel, the criminal complaint adds.

Mr. Chabbott, who was reportedly there with girlfriend (and former “The Hills” player) Stephanie Pratt, then returned to the car to announce “I’m leaving.”

Mr. Chabbott was “specifically told by the officer to not get into the car and to not leave, and that’s exactly what he did,” the NYPD spokesman added.


Seems to me the driver saw the officer holding a RED ticket book, said "nice color, man" and got in before attempting to drive off. I can see where the quip set the stage for an altercation. The officer positioned himself to have one and gives an Oscar-worthy performance.

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Stephanie Pratt's Boyfriend Faces New York Felony Assault Charges: Trumped Up Arrest Charges or Viable Case Against Julien Chabbott?

August 6, 2012

In what appears to be a failed low speed getaway, the boyfriend of dime-a-dozen reality "star" Stephanie Pratt was arrested yesterday for allegedly rolling over the foot of a police officer in Manhattan. According to reports, Julien Chabbott is charged with Second Degree Assault (New York Penal Law 120.05(3)), Vehicular Assault (New York Penal Law 120.03) and Obstruction of Governmental Administration (New York Penal Law 190.50). While I am confident Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. did not envision he would be juggling cases of such magnitude upon being elected as Manhattan's chief prosecutor, I am confident he and his office will get to the bottom of this allegedly bone-headed move (just accept the ticket, man!!!).

As a preliminary matter, Chabbott apparently lacks the minimum level of common sense one would expect from the average self-absobred twenty-something who can only afford a zip car. If a police officer is issuing you a ticket, don't get in his or her face, grab the ticket from his or her hand or...wait for it...drive away as he or she is standing immediately next to or in front of your car. While stupidity is fortunately not a crime, Chabbott's alleged charades may be. So, instead of sleeping at nearly 1:00 am, let me quickly and briefly dissect some of the potential charges.

Assault in the Second Degree: NY PL 120.05

A "D" felony punishable by up to seven years in prison, one of the more common ways this crime is committed is when a person intends to cause serious physical injury to another person and in fact does so. This type of injury is one that creates a substantial risk of death, long term protracted health issues or disfigurement. Alternatively, another common subsection that is charged for this felony Assault is one where a person intends to cause the lesser physical injury to another person and does so with a dangerous instrument. Physical injury is defined in part as substantial pain and is much less significant than the serious variety. In Chabbott's case, it is likely that neither of these common subsections will be charged. Prosecutors would have difficulty proving that Chabbott intended to cause any type of injury to the officer as opposed to merely avoid accepting a ticket.

Instead, the subsection prosecutors will charge Chabbott with will likely be New York Penal law 120.05(3). In substance, this subsection makes it a felony Assault if and when you intend to prevent a police officer from performing his lawful duty (drafting and issuing a ticket), you also cause a physical injury to that police officer. This subsection does not require that you specifically intended to cause a physical injury to the police officer, but that you intended to prevent the officer from performing a lawful duty and in the course of that prevention caused a physical injury. A sprained foot that is gimpy, swollen, black and blue, etc., would likely be a sufficient level of injury to satisfy this charge.

Additionally, prosecutors may also charge Chabbott with New York Penal Law 120.05(4). This subsection is based upon reckless behaviour as opposed to intentional. Pursuant to the theory here, you are guilty of Assault in the Second Degree if you recklessly cause physical injury to any person by means of a weapon or dangerous instrument. A dangerous instrument is any type of object that is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury due to the manner in which it is used. Although slightly more difficult, prosecutors would argue that the vehicle could have caused serious physical injury or death due to the manner in which it was used when it rolled over the police officer's foot. While a car can certainly do that, it is questionable if it was readily capable of doing so in the circumstances depicted in the video. In fact, I am quite confident that unless there is real medical evidence of any type of injury and / or corroborating evidence of damage to the shoe Chabbott allegedly rolled over, Chabbott's criminal defense lawyer could very well challenge whether any injury occurred at all. As a side matter, the press' reference to Vehicular Assault may in fact be this crime.

Although the video does not depict the entire scene, the officer inched in front of a running vehicle (it was a parking ticket for God's sake...let the guy go!). As the car pulls forward, the officer proclaims that Chabbott ran over his foot. However, the video does not appear to capture the tires and the street. Further, the officer was barely in the way of the Ferrari's forward progress. As such, what evidence confirms he was in fact run over or injured? Other than the officer's scream at the scene and possible statement to a physician or EMT, is there any actually physical corroboration of an injury? If not, the charge of Second Degree Assault or even Third Degree Assault is far from a prosecutorial "slam dunk."

Obstructing Governmental Administration: NY PL 195.05

Chabbott, or anyone for that matter, is guilty of Obstructing Governmental Administration (a/k/a OGA or Obstruction) if and when he intentionally obstructs the administration of law or attempts to prevent a public servant (police officer) from performing an official function (inspecting a car and issuing a valid ticket). This must be done by some form of interference (the driving away of the vehicle being ticketed). Unlike the felony above, OGA is an "A" misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

Vehicular Assault: NY PL 120.03

The allegations reported in the press as well as the video do not fully set forth the theory of the Vehicular Assault charge. In fact, this is likely not an actual charge. Generally, this crime is associated with accidents or injuries sustained to individuals other than drivers of vehicles who have some level of intoxication. As a result, Vehicular Assault is often associated with DWIs. In the event Charbbott was intoxicated and he operated his Ferrari (starting the car and moving it an inch is sufficient under the eyes of New York law), then maybe this crime would be viable. However, as discussed in the Second Degree Assault charges above, the threshold of serious physical injury likely cannot be met for this crime.

While the above assessment is brief given the early morning hour of this blog entry and my inability to get back the past hour of my life, it is nonetheless an interesting case from a criminal defense perspective. Can a felony Assault really be proven beyond a reasonable doubt? Did the officer in fact sustain an injury and what evidence corroborates this? From a practical standpoint, why did the police officer use his body to stop the forward progress of the vehicle? Was he trying to ensure an intoxicated man did not drive away or was he just agitated that Charbbott wouldn't back down? Was there traffic to prevent the car from getting very far? Did the officer inch forward enough to make it clear that he was blocking the car's path or was he setting Charbbott up? Where this ends up is anyone's guess, but at least Pratt gets to find out first hand if the following proverb rings true...all press (for a reality "star") is good press.

Crotty Saland PC is a New York criminal defense firm. Established by two New York criminal lawyers who served as prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, Crotty Saland PC represents clients throughout the New York City area.

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I usually side with the public against cops because many of them let the power go to their heads. In this case, it looks like to me some rich punk who thought he could do what he wants. He deserved what he got and I have zero sympathy for him.

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I think they were both wrong. The officer should conduct himself with a higher level of on the job integrity. He saw what was going on and instead of addressing the young man jumped in front of the car. The guy should have never taken off like he did either. Even so, the officer clearly had a temper which is not acceptable for a law enforcement official. If you can't be calm in bad situations you have no business being a police officer. I don't care if he ripped his foot off and ate it in front of him, if you can't keep your temper in check you need a new job.

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My thoughts on the video are that they were both at fault but the young man that tried to drive away was more at fault because any driver should have enough common sense that you don't move your vehicle when there is a chance that you could hurt someone. But the cop seemed to have something again the young man from the get go. Perhaps he was jealous of a relatively young man driving a car that he knew that as a police officer, he could not afford. But instead of letting the young man get inside of the vehicle without saying anything about the ticket he was preparing, he kind of let it escalate to where it never needed to go, something that I think that the police officer knew was going to happen. Most of the time when I see videos of this sort, it's usually a power hungry copper taking advantage of a common citizen. In this case it was that but not to the extent that I usually see, which is progress I suppose.

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