March 16, 2012 By Christian Murray
A 43-year-old Astoria man has been sentenced to twelve years to life prison for assaulting a police officer in August 2010 by ordering a pit bull to attack the officer in an effort to prevent arrest.
“The defendant used his pit bull as a four-legged weapon to attack a police officer,” said Queens District attorney Richard Brown. “This case once again underscores the serious and dangerous nature of police work and the sacrifices that our police officers make in serving and protecting our City. Given the violent nature of the attack, and the fact that the defendant is a persistent felony offender, the lengthy sentence meted out by the Court is more than justified.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jeffrey Cofield, 43, of 14-34 28th Avenue in the Astoria section of Queens. Cofield was sentenced to twelve years to life in prison by Queens
Supreme Court Justice John B. Latella, who presided over a three-day, non-jury trial last month in which the defendant was convicted of two counts of second-degree assault and one count of obstructing governmental administration.
District Attorney Brown said that, according to trial testimony, as members of an NYPD narcotics team chased an unapprehended individual into an apartment at 14-34 28th Avenue on the afternoon of August 2, 2010, Cofield was observed in the apartment holding a pit bull by its collar.
When Sergeant Craig Kearney entered the apartment, Cofield released his grip on the pit bull and shouted, “Get him.” The pit bull ran toward Sgt. Kearney and bit him on the face, causing puncture wounds to the officer’s cheek and jaw, before Cofield grabbed the pit bull’s collar and allowed Sgt. Kearney to escape further injury. The pit bull was then secured inside a bathroom and Sgt. Kearney was taken to a local Queens hospital where he received medical treatment for his wounds.