No Trial Yet for Police Abuse Claimant
By David Crohn

The California software executive who is suing Ocean Beach for police brutality still hasn’t had his day in court.

Sam Gilberd, formerly of Commack, LI, faces disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges in connection with an incident last summer, when he says village cops beat him so badly he had to spend 10 days in the hospital. Last Friday, at his first appearance to answer to those charges, a Suffolk County judge adjourned the case for further review on July 28.

“Depending on our discussion with the Assistant District Attorney, [the case] will then either be dismissed or it will go to trial,” said a spokeswoman for Robert Gottlieb, Gilberd’s defense attorney.

Gilberd, 32, pled not guilty to the charges, both misdemeanors, at his arraignment in Ocean Beach last fall.

The case was moved from Ocean Beach, where Gottlieb argued it would have been impossible to find impartial jurors among the village’s 140 year-round residents.

Meanwhile, the Venice, California resident’s $25 million civil suit against the village is going forward, said his Manhattan-based lawyer, D. Carl Lustig. Gilberd is suing the village of Ocean Beach, then-Police Chief Ed Paradiso and acting Police Chief George Hesse, who was a sergeant at the time. Also named in the suit are seasonal officers who are no longer employed with the village.

On Aug. 28, 2005, Gilberd and his wife were vacationing in Ocean Bay Park. After going out to dinner the couple and some friends went out drinking. He and a friend ended up at C.J.’s. When he got drunk and threw a bottle onto Bay Walk, bouncer Brian Easop brought him in to the station house, where cops issued him a ticket for littering.

What came next is under dispute.

Police say the drunken litterbug suddenly became belligerent, screaming and kicking the door on his way out. Cops were forced to physically subdue him.

But he contends police went too far. In the scuffle Gilberd suffered a ruptured bladder and bruises. He was later treated at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. I was laying on the floor in unbearable pain,” he said in a September, 2005, news conference.

About a week later, Gilberd was slapped with the misdemeanor charges. Gottlieb said the delay points to a “transparent cover-up” on behalf of the police department. A police official who asked to remain anonymous said he was charged that night but that it took six to seven days to notify him.

Police records from that night are unavailable because they are in the hands of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office as it investigates the police abuse claim against the village.

When approached by a Fire Island News reporter last Friday, Gilberd declined further comment.