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What you need to know for 08/18/2017

Cop charged in Saratoga bar assault resigns

Cop charged in Saratoga bar assault resigns

The Saratoga Springs police officer charged with assaulting a man outside a bar while off duty last

The Saratoga Springs police officer charged with assaulting a man outside a bar while off duty last month resigned his position Thursday and will have the charge against him dismissed in six months if he complies with other conditions.

Edward Braim, 34, of 623 Grand Ave., Saratoga Springs, was suspended without pay after a Nov. 12 incident at Dango Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub, Steakhouse and Sports Bar at 38 Caroline St.

On Thursday in Saratoga Springs City Court, special prosecutor Kate Hogan said the victim and Braim agreed that the misdemeanor assault charge against Braim will be dropped if he also attends anger-management counseling, pays restitution to the victim for a dental injury and does not have contact with him for six months.

If the charge is dropped, the record on it will be sealed, said City Court Judge Jeffrey Wait.

Braim appeared in court Thursday morning wearing a black suit and red shirt with a tie. The victim, whom Wait identified as Jeffrey Bennett, did not come to court.

Seeing Braim once — the night he was assaulted — was enough for Bennett, Hogan said.

“ ‘I don’t want to see him,’ ” she said he replied when she asked Bennett if he wanted to come to court Thursday.

Bennett also wanted Braim to leave the police force.

“You don’t want someone with that mind-set being able to carry a gun and arrest people,” Hogan said.

The two men didn’t know each other before the incident.

At the bar that night, another man made a crude comment to Braim about his former job collecting urine from racehorses to test it for drugs. Braim was offended and became angry, Hogan said.

Then Bennett, whom she described as an “innocent bystander,” intervened to try to defuse the situation, she said. But Braim allegedly retaliated against Bennett, pushing him out of the bar onto a parked car so hard that the car’s rearview mirror broke off, Hogan said.

He suffered bruising to his torso, neck and wrist, difficulty breathing, redness, swelling and a chipped tooth.

Both men want to move on from the incident, their attorneys said.

“The victim in this case very much wanted the case to be resolved very quickly,” Hogan said of Bennett.

And Braim wants to get on with his life and is relieved to not have to put his family through a drawn-out administrative proceeding, said his defense attorney, Andrew Safranko.

“I think it’s a fair resolution,” Safranko said after the court proceeding. “The case will ultimately be dismissed like it never happened.”

However, Safranko and Braim believe the matter should have been handled with an internal administrative investigation and hearing, not as a criminal matter.

The Saratoga Springs Police Department decided to charge him criminally.

“It became apparent from Day 1 that this was about his job and the Police Department was going to do anything … to force his resignation,” Safranko said.

Braim and fellow patrolmen Mark Leffler and John Guzek, both of whom were present at the bar but did not participate in the assault, were all suspended without pay while the matter was investigated. Braim’s resignation negates the need for an internal investigation into his actions.

Braim was with the department for a decade and is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, having attained the rank of lance corporal.

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