Two New Haven Police Department officers charged with the unlawful discharge of a firearm, reckless endangerment and interfering with an officer were arraigned in the New Haven Superior Court Friday morning.
Officers Charles Kim and Lawrence Burns, who were both put on administrative leave and arrested for their alleged involvement in an off-duty shooting incident at the State Street bar Christopher Martin’s on April 1, made their first court appearance but did not enter a plea on Friday. Along with officer Krzysztof Ruszczyk, who is charged with interfering with a police officer but did not appear in court Friday, they are due to appear in court next on May 11.
“[The case has] been difficult for him, his family, and I’m sure all of the other officers,” said Michael Georgetti, Burns’ Hartford-based attorney.
In addition to unlawfully firing a city-issued gun, Burns is charged with lying to a superior about his involvement in the incident, according to a warrant affidavit submitted to the court.
Sgt. Steven Teague told Burns to return to State Street to “talk about what happened” in a phone call about 15 minutes after the initial gunfire, but Burns said, “I wasn’t at State Street, Sarge,” and denied involvement several more times, according to the affidavit.
Georgetti told the New Haven Independent his client would plead not guilty “at the appropriate time,” leaving open the possibility of a plea deal.
Both Georgetti and Rosemarie Paine, Kim’s New Haven-based attorney, noted their clients’ past records with the NHPD.
“[Kim] has lived a life of public service — first in the U.S. Marine Corps, and then as a public servant,” Paine told the Independent.
Ruszczyk, Kim and Burns all graduated from the police academy’s 2008 class and have served nearly four years with the NHPD.