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Jury says 110th cops not culpable in death

By Joe Anuta

A grand jury decided two NYPD officers did not commit a crime in Forest Hills last year during an altercation with a Long Island man who later died.

Michael Murphy, 53, was taken to Jamaica Hospital April 2, 2010, after a confrontation with two officers from the 110th Precinct.

Murphy of East Meadow died several days after the attack, and the city medical examiner’s office ruled Murphy’s death a homicide.

The office said he died from “complications of blunt impact to head,” a spokeswoman for the examiner said.

Different accounts of the night paint both Murphy and the policemen as the aggressors.

According to the Queens district attorney’s office, the evidence was not sufficient enough for the grand jury to hand up an indictment.

“We interviewed witnesses provided to us by the Police Department and by Michael Murphy’s attorney. All relevant information was then presented to the grand jury and it was their determination that there was no criminal wrongdoing on anyone’s part that led to Mr. Murphy’s tragic death,” a DA representative said in a statement.

A lawsuit filed last year by Murphy’s wife and a statement from the NYPD tell two different stories of what happened during the altercation.

According to the lawsuit, Murphy was driving on Queens Boulevard around 6:50 p.m. when the officers, Frankie Solar Jr. and Richard Pimental, allegedly removed him from his vehicle and beat him.

The suit said they “repeatedly struck claimant in the head and about his body with a baseball bat with such force that claimant was rendered unconscious.”

The suit further alleges the two officers attempted to discard the bat used in the attack.

According to Murphy’s doctor, he suffered from three blunt force hits to the head by a moving object, the suit said.

But according to the NYPD, the officers hit Murphy in self-defense after he was intoxicated while driving on the Grand Central Parkway.

Murphy rear-ended the car driven by the two officers and then fled the scene, the NYPD said.

The officers followed Murphy, who got out of his car at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and 76th Road and attacked the officers with a baseball bat, the NYPD said.

One of the officers then allegedly punched Murphy in the face, causing him to fall and hit his head, the suit said.

Murphy was charged with driving while intoxicated, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, menacing, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of the accident, the DA said.

Lawyers for Murphy’s widow said they will file another lawsuit.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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