BREAKING: Elmira police officer charged after death investigation of Gary Strobridge

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(UPDATE: 1:48 PM)- Here is the official indictment of the case along with a statement from Oropollo’s defense attorney:

Oropallo defense attorney’s official statement given to 18 News:

Officer Oropallo is absolutely innocent which will become very clear when all of the underlying facts are fully aired in court. Eddie is a decorated war veteran who has served honorably in the NYC, Corning, and Elmira Police Departments without incident for twenty years. His conduct was not the cause of Mr. Strobridge’s death and the Attorney General, in this day and age of ‘defund the police’, is looking for a scapegoat which only compounds an already sad situation.

John R Thweatt, Esq.

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM)- New York Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement on the indictment against Elmira Police Officer Eduardo Oropallo on charges of Assault in the Second Degree arising out of the office’s investigation into the death of Gary Strobridge. Attorney General James launched the investigation into the death of Gary Strobridge in August 2019 in her office’s capacity as special prosecutor in cases where an unarmed civilian dies during an encounter with police. 

“After an exhaustive investigation, we concluded that there was sufficient evidence that the crime of assault had been committed to warrant a presentation to a grand jury. Last week, the grand jury voted, and returned an indictment against Elmira Police Officer Eduardo Oropallo on charges of Assault in the Second Degree. Pursuant to that indictment, Mr. Oropallo was arraigned this morning and his arrest will be processed later today. 

“We take this prosecution with the utmost seriousness and look forward to presenting our case in court. All of our communities deserve justice, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that justice is served.” 

Police responded to a residence on Aug. 22 for a report of an emotionally disturbed person who was 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. 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 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.”

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