Police launch an internal investigation into its response to Rispoli assault/murder

Lou Rispoli

By Christian Murray and Bill Parry

The police have launched an internal investigation into how its officers handled the case involving the brutal assault of a Woodside man who died 5 days later from the injuries he sustained.

The investigation is looking into the police’s response to a crime that led to the death of Lou Rispoli, a Woodside man who was struck in the back of the head outside 41-00 43rd Ave. in Sunnyside at about 2:15 am Saturday Oct 20. While the police arrived shortly after the incident, it took 36 hours before a crime scene vehicle showed up to conduct a thorough investigation.

Inspector Detective Donald Powers, who spoke at the Police Precinct 108 meeting on Tuesday, said that he called Internal Affairs to look into the matter since “I had concerns that we could have done more.”

Powers said “there were some issues–primarily how [the 108 police] patrol responded.” He said he wasn’t aware of the incident until the day after the fatal attack.

Powers would not elaborate on what prompted him to call for the internal investigation, saying he would only provide details on the matter when “internal affairs briefs me with all the facts.”

He did say that a crime vehicle unit is typically called in soon after a victim is seriously injured or a murder has taken place.

Rispoli, a 62-year-old gay man, had been out for a walk at 2:00 am when he was attacked by three men in a white car, police said. One of them used a blunt instrument to hit Rispoli, leaving him on the street.

In terms of the murder case, Powers said he is extremely confident that the police will find the perpetrators. “We have some leads that we can’t talk about…and we just ask for a little patience.”

He said the police have had to work with a number of different agencies to gather the evidence it needs.  “There is some frustration as people may not see the progress behind the scenes.”

He said he has been involved in numerous homicide investigations for more than 25 years and is very confident an arrest will be made. “We just ask for a little patience.”

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38 Responses to Police launch an internal investigation into its response to Rispoli assault/murder

  1. Ruben

    JVB getting shit DONE son!

  2. 86Mets

    With all the pressure on the police to find the killers, let's hope they find the real killers and not just the first suspect they find so they can satisfy local opinion and outrage. That's my concern right now.

  3. You all make me laugh

    And what happens if/when internal affairs finds wrong doing? My guess is a simple reprimand at best..

  4. Sunnyside Native

    It's amazing all the disparaging details surrounding this investigation. A woman who lives at 41-00 43rd Avenue told me she saw a white van/SUV. How are people saying it was a car or sedan? Hopefully the professionals can get to the bottom of this horrific crime! :(

  5. Heartbroken

    @Local Hamburgler This is the sort of testimony that should be reported to the police and not divulged in a community forum. Doing so can muddy up an investigation, and perhaps confuse a potential witness too freaked to share what they know.

    Please please folks, let's act responsibly, let's be sensitive to the situation at hand.

    If anyone has any info about this crime or any other please call CRIMESTOPPERS 1-800-577-TIPS.

    Thank you -

  6. Local Hamburgler

    Sorry. Hopefully a mod will delete it.

  7. Heartbroken

    @Local Hamburgler Your post has been deleted but you still must go forward to the authorities. My apologies if you have already -

  8. thomas

    Let the truth come out ..........this was a terrible crime but totally avoidable........were drugs involved? Was it a crime of passion? Was is an illicit sexual encounter gone awray? Was it a bias attack? A robbery? Self defense? Lets not rush to judgement

  9. Local Hamburgler

    @Heart, To clarify I meant this past Tuesday and I'm sure I was just projecting because I have been keeping an eye out. The tone was in response to 86's " and not just the first suspect they find."

  10. Ruben

    Thomas, . first you say we shouldn't attack someone who has broken into our house, now you're saying not to rush into judgement against someone who has KILLED someone else? What kind of twisted backwards hippie beliefs do you follow? what world do you live in?

    How was it avoidable? That's like saying a woman who got attacked was asking for it because of what she was worrying,

    son, I can rush to judgement on one thing for sure, you are nuts.

  11. 86Mets

    There are many unsolved murders in NYC.

    Are those victims less important?

  12. Angray

    Anyone close to Lou know what the 31 years on his T shirt signifies? 31 years sober? If so, can we not talk about this being a "drug deal gone wrong".

  13. Patrick

    By the way, this sort of (only sort of) has echoes of the murder of John (spelling?) Dalton -- before my time in the neighborhood, but wasn't sure if that crime was ever solved either -- and he was a gay man as well. They also killed his newly arrived roommate in a building I used to reside in on 47th Ave.

  14. JuliaJ.

    Sometimes you think you know people but you don't. I sure hope the police find out where he was during the missing two hours.

  15. JuliaJ.

    People who remember the murder at the New Post diner also want justice for that victim - and have been waiting for years!

  16. Tempus_fugit

    If this man had not been gay and a personal friend of the local councilman, this murder would have already been forgotten about like many others.

    Let's be frank. It's who you know and what social group you belong to that decides how much your death matters.

  17. Paul Maringelli

    Quit writing and saying "He was a gay man" HE WAS A MAN WHO HAPPENED TO BE GAY! You are perpetrating the myth that this somehow makes him less of a human being and therfore it's OK to beat him in the head because he wasn't a real man but only a gay man.

    A man was killed! He was taking a nightly walk in his (and our) neighborhood. Everyone should be safe to walk the streets of Sunnyside & Woodside!

  18. Tempus_fugit

    I've followed the threads on this story and Mr Maringelli's assertion that some people have claimed that Lou Rispoli was "Less of a human being" because he was gay and that it's "ok to beat him him in the head" are utterly absurd.

    Nobody made any such outrageous remark.

  19. Paul M.

    To Tempus_fugit... I've learned long ago, from friends of mine who were/are gay, that they were/are persecuted because of who they are. Mr. Rispoli may have been a victim of "gay bashing". There are some people in the world who think it is OK to "beat down a queer" - By writing that he was a "gay man" makes many people think he was less of a man. That is why I say, "HE WAS A MAN, WHO HAPPENED TO BE GAY" and he didn't deserve to be beat to death.

    Tho' I didn't know Mr. Rispoli, I've known other men who were beaten or killed just because of their sexual orientation. We should all be upset because a human being was killed. It shouldn't make a difference if he was gay or not.

    If I was killed on 43rd Ave., would people write, "A straight man was killed" - I think not!

    Mr. Rispoli was a man who was murdered, his sexual orientation shouldn't make a difference to us. But, I am guessing, his sexual orientation made a difference to his killers.

  20. Heartbroken

    @Angray The 31 years on Lou's T-shirt signified the length of time he and his husband were together before they were allowed to be legally married.

    Lou Rispoli helped and cared for this community for decades. He actively mentored dozens of young people, encouraging them to be themselves. He also happened to be a close friend of Jimmy Van Bramer's. Anyone in a similar situation would take similar action.

    For those of you who are less than sympathetic despite these circumstances, we wish you the best, all the same.

  21. tempus fugit


    People aren't "less than sympathetic" as you say. They just wonder why other victims of violence don't seem to merit the same level of public outrage and grief as Mr. Rispoli. I think it's called equality.

  22. tempus fugit

    @Paul M

    You are right, his sexuality shouldn't make a difference. He was a human being who was murdered and it was a terrible event.

    But, if you recall when the story became public, there were cries of "hate crime" which, of course, refers to his sexuality. If you want to blame anyone about making this about a "gay man" instead of simply a man and a fellow human being, then blame the people crying "hate crime." They are the ones focused on his lifestyle as opposed to his humanity.

  23. Disgusted

    May God pity all of you who speak ill of Lou because of who he was friends with. You should be ashamed. Just be happy we finally have a council member who is taking a stand. There haven't been any other murders while he's been in office. When there are, hold him to the same standards. Lou was a wonderful man who didn't deserve this. NO ONE deserves this.

  24. tempus fugit


    At no time did anyone suggest that Lou deserved what happened to him or that he wasn't a great guy. It's totally irresponsible and despicable of you to suggest such a thing just because some people have a different view on how this case has been handled. You aren't the only one who is disgusted.

  25. O'shea

    Maybe you did not follow this story from the beginning. Paul m is right.
    Thomas on a previous story questioned why Mr rispoli was walking at night. He suggested that the victim was trolling for sex or he may have attacked his killers in the car. There has been a lot of ill comments directed at Mr rispoli's life.

  26. tempus fugit


    The circumstances of the case are at best vague. If somebody brought up the possible reason he was walking around late at night, it's relevant in that it might help lead to the killers. I would hope that the police investigation will look into all possibilities even if they are not flattering to the victim. Sounds harsh but do people want to know the truth about what happened or not?

    Having said that, regardless of why Mr. Rispoli was out that night, there is NO justification for any violence against him - and the killers, if and when they are caught and convicted, should be strapped to an electric chair and executed in my opinion.

  27. Heartbroken

    @tempus fugit In reference to your sarcastic comment, I think it's called equality - I'm confused. Exactly what kind of equality are you looking for? Would you have hoped that Lou would have been honored less, so as not to offend - who? Or are you implying that we who mourn Lou somehow feel that any other victim would not be worthy of the deepest kind of sympathy?

  28. tempus fugit


    You clearly haven't comprehended my comments. I don't think Lou should have been honored less. His murder was a a terrible tragedy and I have stated so in no uncertain terms. I have called for the severest punishment for the perpetrators, probably a punishment more severe than you would advocate, if you are against the death penalty.

    And to answer you question, yes, I do think you feel that other victims of the same crime are less worthy of the same sympathy. There have been other murder victims and I have no evidence of the same outpouring of outrage and sympathy on your part.

  29. Heartbroken

    @tempus fugit So this is what you tell a person who is grieving? I will leave your comment as is, for all to see.

  30. tempus fugit


    The point I'm trying to make is that you are not the only one who has lost someone tragically. You don't have a monopoly on grief.

  31. Disgusted

    @tempus it's obvious you've disgusted everyone on this forum enough. Maybe you should take a hint. I hope someone repeats the same words to you in your time of grief, so you can realize how ignorant you've been.

  32. tempus fugit


    I've done nothing to insult or denigrate anyone's grief except to to suggest that people whose untimely death's that didn't make the news are just as tragic. What's wrong with that?

  33. Heartbroken

    @tempus fugit No, you didn't just say that untimely deaths that don't make the news are just as tragic. You accused those who are mourning the loss of Lou Rispoli as hardly caring about anyone else's loss. And I quote: "And to answer you(r) question, yes, I do think you feel that other victims of the same crime are less worthy of the same sympathy. There have been other murder victims and I have no evidence of the same outpouring of outrage and sympathy on your part. That is quite a different statement and an inappropriate one considering the horrendous circumstances. I wouldn't wish what we are all going through to anyone.

    @Disgusted Thank you.

  34. sandycat

    @tempus fugit "The point I’m trying to make is that you are not the only one who has lost someone tragically. You don’t have a monopoly on grief."

    Dear tempus whatever....If you made a similar comment to me when my brother died suddenly several years ago, I would have lost it and hit you over the head :( FYI, Heartbroken actually does deserve the full monopoly on grief right now - maybe not next week, or next year, but right now, yes he does...you need to know when to back off and show some compassion no matter what your personal views are...

  35. Heartbroken

    @sandycat Thank you - and I'm so sorry for the loss of your brother.

  36. Thomas

    Tempus Fugit is obviously a "baiter" do not fall into that trap.

  37. Thomas

    This was a previous post ...directed at these three 'real men"

    Tempus Fugit, O’Shea, Ruben…..

    Such men…..may I ask? What if instead of a single intruder there were 3 or 4? Would your self professed physical prowess enable you to overcome such a multiple of attackers? Would it not be wise to asses a situation before reacting? Perhaps by assuming a proactive response you further endanger your family? Yes, I would try to subdue an attacker if I were physically capable…..would I kill him? Only if there was no other choice. And no I am not the toughest man in the world nor is my definition of what constitutes a “man” depend upon his physical attributes. Our intellect and reason seperates the “man” from beast. I submit to you ….stop the posturing and bluster…..no one knows how they would react in any life or death situation until faced with it……..educate yourselves!

    Needless to say they never replied

  38. Thomas

    They are totally incapable of honest debate or even defending their positions.


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