ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The Elmira Police Officer charged with assaulting Gary Strobridge in 2019 has been found not guilty, according to Elmira Police Chief Anthony Alvernaz.
The jury reached the verdict for Eduardo Oropallo in the afternoon on April 26. The case was prosecuted by the New York State Attorney General’s Office. The jury trial began on April 19, 2022 after a delay from its original planned starting date of December 2021.
Oropallo was charged with assaulting Gary Strobridge in August 2019 when police responded to a report of an emotionally disturbed person who was on the roof of a two-story home. Officers attempted to take the Strobridge into custody under the Mental Hygiene Law, saying “he was clearly a danger to himself and/or others.”
While receiving initial treatment at an unnamed hospital, police say the Strobridge was somewhat cooperative. At one point his “behavior suddenly changed and he physically attacked an Elmira police officer.”
During a second struggle with police, Strobridge suddenly became limp and unresponsive. He received medical treatment and was transported to Upstate Medical Center where he later died.
According to an attorney for Strobridge’s family, video of the incident allegedly showed that “the Officer began to punch (Strobridge), and four other Officers all then jumped in and began beating him.”
Oropallo was indicted in December 2020 and charged with assault after Attorney General Letitia James launched an investigation into the August 2019 incident.
A lawsuit filed by the Strobridge family in 2021 against Elmira Police alleged “Strobridge was again assaulted and had his head slammed to the ground, while handcuffed, numerous times” and that “numerous City of Elmira police officers used excessive force and were negligent in their handling of Gary Strobridge.”