Two officers with the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department were arrested Monday after being indicted on charges alleging they provided false testimony to a grand jury, which lead to an inmate being indicted on false charges, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
The officers – one active and one retired – were arraigned Dec. 16 at the Nassau County Court in Mineola after being charged with perjury, making a sworn false statement, official misconduct and conspiracy. They each could face up to 7 years in prison, if convicted.
John Andujar, 55, retired from the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department and moved to Florida after the incident, prosecutors said. The other officer, Joseph Donlon, 48, of Ronkonkoma, was still on the force when he was arrested Monday. It was unclear if he has been suspended.
“We expect to hold law enforcement officers to the highest standards of honesty and discipline,” Rice said. “When that trust is broken, it unfairly taints the vast majority of law enforcement who serve honorably and we must act to correct it.”
Prosecutors said the incident started in October 2011, when Andujar was involved in a physical altercation with an inmate, David Page. Several members of the Sheriff’s Department, including Officer Donlon, were required to assist in breaking up the squabble, the DA said.
Andujar and Donoln later allegedly provided sworn statements indicating Page “spontaneously, without any warning or verbal communication, attack Andujar in the jail’s transportation unit.”
As a result of their statements, Page was charged with three counts of second-degree assault and was soon indicted after the two officers testified before a Nassau County grand jury, leading to Page’s indictment on the new felony charges.
Several witnesses told internal affairs investigators that Andujar and Page were involved in a verbal dispute, which quickly escalated. The witnesses reported Andujar removed Page’s handcuffs and shackles and the two “engaged in a mutual fight,” a DA’s news release said. The assault charges against Page were later dismissed.
In a statement, Nassau County Sheriff Michael Sposato said his agency “takes all allegations of inmate abuse very seriously,” adding that Sheriff’s Department investigators referred the case to the district attorney’s office. He declined further comment, citing the pending criminal prosecution.
Andujar and Donolon were both released without bail. They are due back in court on Jan. 13.