Gay NY officers criticize TV anchor case
RAW STORYPublished: Thursday February 28, 2008
An organization for gay police officers expressed outrage Wednesday that charges could be dropped against a former television news anchor who was accused of assaulting an officer.
The New York City Region of the Gay Officers Action League said it was "outraged and deeply concerned" that prosecutors downgraded charges against Alycia Lane from felony assault to misdemeanor obstruction of government administration and harassment. The charges stem from a Dec. 16, 2007, incident in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood.
The league also criticized Criminal Court Judge Dina Douglas's decision on Monday to dismiss the reduced charges if Lane, who worked at a CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, isn't arrested for any reason within the next six months.
Lane, 35, confronted undercover officers who identified themselves, was disorderly, made homophobic remarks and struck a female officer in the face, the group said. The decision not to prosecute Lane on the original charges, it said, sends a "disturbing message" to the public.
"If people cannot control their anger and hatred and choose to confront and injure a police officer, then what chance does the everyday citizen have of expecting a general sense of personal safety in our city?" the league's executive director, Thomas Verni, said in a statement.
The original complaint against Lane said the assault caused lacerations and swelling on the officer's face. But Manhattan prosecutors said scratches on the officer's face did not rise to the level of physical injury that a felony charge requires.
Lane's attorney David S. Smith on Wednesday said his client maintains she never made derogatory comments or assaulted anyone. He said she has gay friends and a high regard for police officers.
Lane, a Long Island native who joined Philadelphia's KYW-TV in 2003, was fired Jan. 7.
Station president Michael Colleran said "it would be impossible" for Lane to continue to report the news because she had "become the focus of so many news stories."
Lane hit the headlines in May 2007 after she e-mailed photos of herself in a bikini to NFL network sports anchor Rich Eisen. The photos were intercepted by Eisen's wife, who fired back a tart response, congratulating Lane for her fit physique.
Lane said at the time that the pictures were meant to be good fun between old friends, not an attempt to interfere in Eisen's marriage.