A fired Port Authority police inspector who lost his job after being accused of misdemeanor assault now says he believes he was prosecuted because of the alleged victim’s high-powered connections.
"The man mentioned Trump’s name, and said he was going to have my job. He made good on his promise," said 51-year-old John Fitzpatrick.
It took a Manhattan jury just a few hours of deliberations on June 15 to acquit John Fitzpatrick of third degree assault in an alleged attack 17 months ago on 70-year-old Arcadio Casillas, the former finance chairman of the New York State GOP.
"I don't think this was handled like any other assault-three case in the history of the Manhattan DA’s office, personally," Fitzpatrick said. He added, "I think there was a lot of pressure from outside influences to push this case."
The worlds of the two men collided in January 2017, after both left separate events at the private Union League Club on the East Side. Fitzpatrick, in an unmarked Port Authority vehicle, pulled over a cab Casillas had hailed for a traffic infraction.
"He came at me, and wanted to know who I was," said Fitzpatrick, adding, "In the course of him telling me I was the worst police officer he’d ever seen, he mentioned that he worked for Trump and he was going to have me fired because I had stopped his cab."
There is no cellphone of the initial confrontation, but Casillas began recording after he claims Fitzpatrick hit him in the head and kicked him in the testicles, dragging him to the ground so forcefully he lost consciousness.
Fitzpatrick said, "If you listen to the video, you can hear the woman screaming, 'He’s going to get hit by a car,' and I certainly didn’t want any more trouble that was already presenting itself, so I guided him to the sidewalk."
The longtime officer denied striking Casillas, who never called 911.
He later went to the Midtown North precinct, where he was asked why he believed he was attacked. "Maybe because I had voted for Donald Trump," he wrote in a statement. Casillas initially denied giving that statement and later claimed it was a joke.
A few months after the incident, Casillas filed a $100 million notice of claim against the Port Authority and Fitzpatrick. "It should have been $1 billion," he testified in court.
During the trial, prosecutors showed pictures of bruised genitals Casillas claimed were his, but Fitzpatrick’s attorney noted that there was no medical documentation of any such injuries.
Casillas, who has a pending civil lawsuit, declined to comment. Fitzpatrick, who is now countersuing, says he just wants his job back.
"I did it because I love it. And I feel it’s been stolen, ripped away from me. I don’t want money. I just want to be put back to normal. I want to live my life again. I want my life back."