Attorney: Hopatcong officer had no choice but to hit man in bunny suit
The attorney for a Hopatcong police officer facing charges for slapping a man in a bunny suit says that the officer had no choice.
Officer Nicholas Maresca is facing simple assault charges for slapping Kevin Hemmerich with an open hand inside the Hopatcong Police Station last month.
A video posted on Facebook Live by Hemmerich's brother shows Hemmerich enter the police station dressed in a bunny costume and repeatedly blow an air horn inside.
Officer Maresca is seen entering the station a few minutes later and asks Hemmerich why he was blowing the horn and then appears to slap him.
Anthony Iacullo, the officer's attorney, says Maresca had no other option given the circumstances.
"When an officer enters a situation like this, he has mere seconds to respond to a situation where there is an individual there acting in a way that not only caused concern of Mr. Maresca but individuals at police headquarters," Iacullo says.
Hemmerich tells News 12 New Jersey that he was originally at the police station to turn himself in on an outstanding warrant. His brother Jason previously told News 12 that the duo thought it would be funny.
Hemmerich admits that what he did was wrong, but says that the officer should also face some penalties.
"I did what I did and suffer consequences and he should too for what he did," Hemmerich says.
Maresca is on administrative duty until the charge is resolved. Hemmerich is facing municipal charges for the incident.
Both are expected to appear in court later this month.