A decorated Saratoga Springs police officer was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor assault, accused of pushing a man up against a parked car outside a bar and onto the ground while two other officers watched.
Edward Braim, 34, of 623 Grand Ave., Saratoga Springs, was arraigned on a third-degree assault charge from the reported incident at 12:22 a.m. Nov. 12. He and the other two officers were off duty outside Dango Fitzgerald’s bar, 38 Caroline St. at the time.
The alleged victim in the incident, a 41-year-old man, suffered “difficulty breathing, redness, swelling and contusions to his torso, neck and wrist,” according to court papers. Later that day, he sought treatment at Saratoga Hospital’s emergency room, authorities said.
Braim has been with the department for 10 years, and before that served in the Marine Corps, attaining the rank of lance corporal. According to military announcements published in The Gazette in 1998, Braim was stationed then at Marine Corps Security Force Company, Naval Submarine base, Bangor, Wash.
On Tuesday, Braim was released to his attorney, Andrew Safranko, after the court appearance before City Court Judge Jeffrey Wait. He is slated to appear in court again Dec. 20.
Police in a news release said that a verbal argument started inside the bar between the three officers and the complainant. It continued outside, culminating in the alleged assault.
All three officers remain suspended without pay; an administrative investigation by the department is taking place separate from the criminal investigation.
“The department does not condone the off-duty actions of the officers involved in this incident and has taken the appropriate steps to hold them accountable for those actions,” Saratoga Springs Police Chief Christopher Cole said in a news release.
The other two officers were Mark Leffler and John Guzek, Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III confirmed in his statement. Neither is charged with any crime.
Murphy has asked that Judge Wait issue an order of protection to keep Braim away from the complainant. The man has no health insurance and his bills are being paid by the district attorney office’s Crime Victims Unit.
“We will treat this case as we do all others, keeping the rights of the victim in mind,” Murphy said in a news release. “Since Officer Braim is a witness in other cases my office is prosecuting, it may be necessary to apply to the court for a special prosecutor.”
At least twice in the past, people being arrested by Braim were charged with assaulting him.
In 2009, a Skidmore College student was arrested as police arrived at a house to break up an underage drinking party. The young man allegedly punched Braim in the face and both of them tumbled over a porch railing, giving Braim a broken rib.
A felony assault charge against the student was dropped when he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
In 2004, a man was accused of punching Braim in the eye on Caroline Street as police tried to arrest him for allegedly spitting on and slapping a pedestrian. The man then was charged with felony second-degree assault.
Braim suffered swelling to his face, The Gazette reported at the time.