Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Cop Under Investigation After Punching Woman In Face

(yes, that's really her in the pic.)

STAMFORD, Conn. (WPIX) - The Stamford Police Department is investigating the conduct of a police officer who assaulted a woman during an arrest last week, a police spokesman confirmed to PIX News Wednesday.

According to Lt. Sean Cooney, Officer Gregory Zach punched Brenda Mazariegos, 40, while arresting her for driving without a license Friday in the parking lot behind The Palms nightclub - a nightclub Mazariegos owns.

A photograph of a Mazariegos, that has been splashed on local newspapers and TV stations, shows the victim with a large bump on her head - a result from her alleged assault by the officer.

Mazariegos has yet to file a formal complaint, but it's not preventing the department from investigating the incident.

Cooney told PIX News that officials are pursuing the investigation due in part by the serious allegations and the fact that the incident occurred at a public event. The release of the photograph has made the incident a high-profile case, prompting a probe in the assault, he added.

According to Cooney, the officer is not denying that he assaulted Mazariegos and in fact says the woman was the one who attacked him first, forcing him to protect himself by punching her back, he said.

A surveillance video from the parking lot where the assault occurred has surfaced, however investigators say the video is too grainy to make anything out.

"We hold our officers to very high standards and know that the public is entitled to expect nothing less," said Cooney.

PIX News made several attempts Wednesday to reach out to Mazariegos, but phone calls were not immediately returned.


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