Harrison cop sues suspect over accidental shooting

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After an October 2012 friendly-fire incident that left a Harrison police detective permanently injured, Daniel DiBiase, the suspect in the incident, is being sued by the officer for putting him in a dangerous position. File photo

By PHIL NOBILE

Although Harrison police Detective Stephen Barone was shot by a fellow police officer nearly two years ago, he is placing blame on the suspect in the incident in a new lawsuit filed in county court.

Citing an injury that effectively ended his career, Barone alleges Daniel DiBiase—a getaway driver during an October 2012 shooting that left Barone and DiBiase with injuries sustained from bullet wounds—is responsible for compensation.

Barone and his attorney, Mitchell Baker, allege that, because DiBiase put Barone and fellow officer Lt. Vito Castellano in the situation they were in, he is responsible for Barone’s injuries.

“[DiBiase] created a dangerous situation, which caused my client to become injured,” Baker said. “We haven’t quantified an amount yet, but we’re asking for compensation after Mr. Barone has been seriously hurt and unable to return to police work.”

On Oct. 17, 2012, DiBiase, along with his brother, Paul DiBiase and Jason Foskey, were pulled over by Harrison police near Interstate 287 in Purchase. The trio was under investigation by police for a string of burglaries in Westchester and Connecticut.

The DiBiase brothers had prior convictions as members of the “Sound Shore Gang,” which robbed waterfront homes in Westchester and Connecticut in the late 1980s.

After police surrounded the vehicle, an altercation ensued in which Castellano accidentally fired multiple rounds, hitting both DiBiase and Barone, according to the lawsuit.

Barone, who has been an officer in Harrison for more than 20 years, suffered “serious and permanent career ending injuries” due to the gunshot wound, according to the lawsuit; specifically the ulnar nerve in his left arm was injured with bullet fragments that remain in his arm to this day.

“A lot of pain and suffering has come to my client,” Baker said. “He hasn’t been able to continue doing what he’s always wanted to do as a result, which is continue being a police officer.”

The Town of Harrison is listed in the lawsuit along with DiBiase due to an active civil rights case that DiBiase has against the town.

Although DiBiase plead guilty to weapons charges and federal racketeering in February 2014—which could land him up to 17 years in prison when sentenced next month—he is suing Harrison for civil rights violations and assault and battery claims. As a result, Barone and his attorney want any of the awarded amounts to DiBiase if he were to win his case against the town in court.

Town Attorney Frank Allegretti said, “There are no allegations made against us and no specific demand or request for relief against us other than if DiBiase collects money from the town, a court order to not pay DiBiase any money but pay Barone instead is being requested.”

The Harrison Town Council recently accepted a letter of resignation from Barone at its May 1 meeting, calling for the detective’s service to be
recognized by the community.

“His service to the town was remarkable,” Councilman Stephen Malfitano, a Republican, said. “It’s always sad to see people who have worked hard and served their community leave us, but the time comes.”

CONTACT: phil@hometwn.com