Two off-duty police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing after a patron at Dango’s Bar allegedly punched one of them in the head early Monday.
Saratoga Springs police say the incident occurred about 12:50 a.m. Monday and gave the following account in a news release issued today:
Officer William Arpei was off-duty and socializing with another off-duty officer in the bar, at 38 Caroline St. The two had a brief conversation with Christopher Raible, 24, of Delanson, that at one point involved discussion of their occupations. The conversation ended amicably, but about 15 minutes later, police say Raible walked over to Arpei, muttered something about him being a police officer and punched him.
Arpei did not suffer any serious injuries, according to police, and did not engage Raible after being punched. Arpei and the other off-duty officer followed department policy and immediately contacted on-duty personnel, who dispatched a supervisor to the scene, according to the release. After an investigation, police charged Raible with third-degree attempted assault, a class B misdemeanor.
An internal investigation into the incident cleared both officers of any wrongdoing, according to the release.
“While off-duty police officers have a right to socialize wherever they are legally permitted to do so without being subjected to antagonism and physical abuse, they also must realize that they are held to a higher standard than the general public,” Chief of Police Greg Veitch said in the release. “Public perception of the police is critical to the success of the mission of the police department, and police officers will be held to a high standard of conduct both on and off-duty.”
His department will investigate every incident involving an off-duty officer, he said, to ensure they “are behaving with integrity.”
“In this case, the officers acted with considerable restraint after an unprovoked assault,” he continued. “They were at the location for less than one hour, were not intoxicated and took the appropriate actions by calling on-duty personnel to deal with the incident. They did nothing wrong and have been cleared of any wrongdoing through both a criminal and internal investigation. ”