ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The assault trial of Officer Eduardo Oropallo following the August 2019 death of 49-year-old Gary Strobridge has been delayed until 2022 due to a scheduling conflict.
The delay was confirmed by Defense Attorney John Thweatt on Thursday after jury selection was set to begin on December 13, 2021.
Oropallo was indicted in December 2020 and charged with assault after Attorney General Letitia James launched an investigation into the August 2019 incident.
The family of Strobridge has also filed a lawsuit against the Elmira Police Department.
On August 22, 2019, police responded to a residence for a reported emotionally disturbed person on the roof of a two-story home.
Police say the man, later identified as Strobridge, came down from the roof “acting unusual” and began chasing a neighbor while shouting.
Officers attempted to take the Strobridge into custody under the Mental Hygiene Law, saying “he was clearly a danger to himself and/or others.”
Strobridge allegedly struck an officer in the face, leading to a struggle with law enforcement. An Elmira Police officer used a Taser during the incident and officers took the Strobridge into custody.
While receiving initial treatment at an unnamed hospital, police say the Strobridge was somewhat cooperative. Officials say at one point Strobridge’s “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 shows that “the Officer began to punch (Strobridge), and four other Officers all then jumped in and began beating him.”
A lawsuit filed by the Strobridge family earlier this year 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.”