A melee broke out in a Hempstead courtroom Thursday after a defendant attacked officers following his arrest for allegedly threatening witnesses in his brother’s murder trial.
Maleek McClough, 27, had just been arraigned on menacing, witness intimidation and harassment charges when he lunged toward a uniformed police officer and became involved in a violent struggle with authorities.
McClough’s brother, Diquan, was convicted Tuesday on murder charges in connection with a fatal shooting in front of a Hempstead apartment house. Authorities said Maleek allegedly verbally taunted and threatened the family of his brother’s victim after showing up at their home on Tuesday. Hempstead Village police arrested him Wednesday night after the victim’s family reported the alleged harassment to detectives, said Lt. Francis McNamee, a village police spokesman.
“We received a complaint that he verbally threatened a family member,” McNamee said. “Basically, the family of the victim were harassed by this guy and he was arrested last night.”
According to prosecutors, McClough approached the mother of Quavis Ford after the verdict was reached in his brother’s murder case. “Looks like there’s going to be another homicide,” he allegedly told the woman, an assistant district attorney said in court.
The DA’s office said Ford’s mother and two sisters were approached in front of her Hempstead home. McClough allegedly began to curse at them and said he “didn’t have anything on him now, but would be back tonight to fuck them up,” according to court documents. Five people filed reports with police claiming harassment and seeking orders of protection.
McClough’s Legal Aid attorney, Martha Linberger, said her client “adamantly denies” the allegations against him and asked the court to consider “reasonable bail,” before instructing her chatty client to be quiet and not address the court.
“I didn’t do it. I’m not guilty,” McClough shouted at Judge Eric Bjorneby as court staff instructed him to sign the orders of protection and acknowledge receipt of the documents. After Bjorneby set bail at $200,000 cash or bond, McClough began to shout “Not guilty. Not guilty. I am not guilty” toward the courtroom gallery. As a police officer grabbed hold of his arm, McClough began to resist and yelled “get your hands off me.” He then turned toward the officers and began to resist their commands. About a dozen officers ran to assist and the courtroom gallery was cleared.
Two Nassau County police officers and a corrections officer were injured in the melee. A police spokesman said the corrections officer’s hand was broken. The other two officers suffered neck and back injuries. As of Thursday afternoon, additional charges against McClough were pending.
McClough’s latest scuffle with the law is his ninth arrest. He has previous convictions for a felony, three misdemeanors and youthful offender adjudications, prosecutors said.