Updated 04/25/2012 11:35 PM
Off-Duty Officer Charged With Assault In Manhattan Eatery
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Surveillance video caught an off-duty police officer punching a man at an uptown Manhattan restaurant and now the policeman is charged with assault.
Ariel Frias was arrested on March 28 and indicted on April 6 on charges of third-degree misdemeanor assault. He was released on his own recognizance.
The Manhattan District Attorney's office says Frias and Edwin Veloz got into a fight at the Mamajuana Cafe in Inwood on January 8.
Frias was caught on surveillance video punching Veloz in the face.
Veloz suffered brain damage.
The manager of Mamajuana, Victor Santos, said he grabbed Frias and dragged him outside.
"It almost closing time, at the time, the club wasn't as crowded as it usually gets, but everything happened so fast, it was a ten second thing, It didn't give anybody time to react," Santos said.
Frias' attorney says his client was only protecting himself and other patrons.