Husband and wife professors Suzanne LaFont and Karl Anders Peltomaa have declared victory over the New York Police Department officer who brutalized Peltomaa for no reason during the man’s medical emergency, and falsely arrested LaFont because, “He needed to teach [her] a lesson.”
The madness began last April, when LaFont and Peltomaa were drinking wine in their Upper West Side apartment. Peltomaa, who had recently undergone heart surgery, began to worry that his heart medication was having a bad reaction to the wine.
“My heart started racing,” said Peltomaa in a statement to The New York Times. “I felt nervous that something was going wrong with the repair to my aorta.”
LaFont quickly called 911. Soon after, an ambulance and fire truck arrived on the scene — as did an NYPD officer, Anthony Giambra. LaFont answered the door for Giambra, but the couple’s dog, Laika, ran out of the apartment and LaFont chased after it.
While she was gone, Giambra attempted to handcuff Peltomaa. The police department claimed in a statement that Peltomaa physically resisted the handcuffs, prompting Giambra to take more forceful action. Peltomaa denied this account, though he did wonder why he was being handcuffed. Either way, Giambra roughed up Peltomaa, threw him on the floor, pressed his weak heart against the ground, cuffed him, and dragged him outside to the ambulance.
When LaFont returned she put her hand on Giambra’s shoulder and asked him to stop abusing her husband. For this, she was placed under arrest and taken to a cell.
Later, Giambra informed her that her husband was fine — indeed, he was in better shape than she was. He then gave her a chilling message.
“He said he needed to teach me the lesson that you are never allowed to touch a police officer,” she said. (RELATED: NYPD cops beat an old man bloody…for jaywalking)
Peltomma, however, was far from fine. He needed stitches for a split chin and electronic monitors for his heart. He survived, however, and was released two days later.
LaFont was charged with obstruction and harassment.
Prosecutors tried to convince her to plead guilty and accept a sentence of “time served,” a common result in cases like these. LaFont, however, vowed that she was innocent.
Last week, a judge sided with LaFont and cleared her of any wrongdoing, describing the facts of the case as “extreme and unusual.”
While they are very happy with the verdict, the couple said that they have developed a fundamental distrust of police due to the incident.
The NYPD 20th precinct, where Giambra works, did not respond to a request for comment as to whether officials would investigate the officer, given the judge’s ruling.