A 31-year-old Vestal police officer has been suspended without pay following an accusation that he punched and kicked an Iraqi war veteran at a local bar.
Robert D. Cahill was charged by Johnson City police with third-degree assault with intent to cause injuries, a misdemeanor, and arraigned Dec. 5 in village court, according to village police Lt. David A. Smith. Cahill was released on his own recognizance.
The complaint, filed in village court by Johnson City Sgt. Mark R. Wallikas, states that Cahill punched Patrick F. Dinottia II in the head and then kicked him at 12:50 a.m. Nov. 26. at Giblin's. Dinottia, of Johnson City, was treated at Wilson Regional Medical Center for a cut above his left eye.
Cahill declined comment when reached at home; Dinottia did not return a call for comment.
Vestal Police Chief John Butler said Cahill has been suspended indefinitely without pay. Butler wouldn't comment further, citing a personnel matter.
Bar owner William Giblin said the fight was recorded by a digital surveillance camera that he turned over to police the night after the fight. The Main Street establishment is usually calm, said Giblin, adding that this was the first fight he's had in the six years he's been open. Dinottia, who served seven months in 2003 as a U.S. Navy Seabee in Iraq, wrote in a police statement that earlier in the night, a woman he believed to be a state trooper confronted him and a friend about giving her "dirty looks." According to Dinottia's statement, he responded that he didn't know what she was talking about.
Cahill was sitting with the woman later, before approaching him, Dinottia said in the statement.
Dinottia wrote that he doesn't remember what Cahill said to him, but he knew there was a problem when two of Cahill's "friends," who Dinottia later learned were also police officers, stood next to him.
"I made a comment to (Cahill) saying 'so this is how it's going to be.' As soon as I stood up he reached back and threw a haymaker punch that hit me in the face. I then fell to the ground. I was hit so hard that I was almost knocked out," Dinottia in his statement, adding that someone kicked him while he was on the ground. "I never threw a punch during any of the incident, because I never had a chance."
Dinottia, who didn't initially press charges, went to Wilson Regional Medical Center and got eight stitches for the cut above his eye. He then decided to file a complaint with Johnson City police.
Cahill joined the Vestal Police Department in the summer of 2007, after working as a Johnson City police officer since 2003. In 2006, he was one of the first officers who found Matthew Romano unconscious and face down in Calvary Cemetery after being stabbed. Romano said he was stabbed by an assailant, but prosecutors later said Romano stabbed himself and filed a false report about the attack. He was acquitted in November of those charges.
Cahill's father is retired Binghamton Assistant Chief William Cahill, who worked under Butler when the latter was Binghamton police chief.