By Jon Craig
A Harrison police officer has sued a convicted burglar for his role in an accidental “friendly fire” shooting by a fellow officer that left the detective unable to work.
The lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court claims that Detective Steve Barone was seriously hurt during the October 2012 shooting. The Harrison village board accepted Barone’s resignation letter on May 1.
The lawsuit says that Daniel DiBiase, who is serving prison time on separate charges, owed Barone “a duty not to create a condition wherein (Barone) could become injured.”
DiBiase created the situation that put everyone at risk as the driver of a getaway car, according to Mitchell Baker, Barone’s White Plains attorney.
DiBiase previously filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Town of Harrison, Barone and Lt. Vito Castellano, seeking unspecified damages for injuries after Castellano accidentally fired shots during a traffic stop. A status conference in that lawsuit is set for Sept. 4.
Citing an injury that effectively ended his career, Barone alleges Daniel DiBiase, the driver during the shooting that left Barone and DiBiase with bullet wounds, is ultimately responsible for compensation.
Barone’s lawsuit claims that because DiBiase created a dangerous situation for Police Officers Barone and Castellano, he is responsible for Barone’s injuries. If DiBiase wins his lawsuit against the town, Barone is seeking to collect those damage awards as well.
On Oct. 17, 2012, Daniel DiBiase, along with his brother, Paul DiBiase and Jason Foskey, were pulled over by Harrison police near Interstate 287 in Purchase. They were under investigation by police for multiple burglaries in Westchester and Connecticut.
The DiBiase brothers had prior convictions as members of the so-called “Sound Shore Gang,” which robbed waterfront homes in Westchester and Connecticut in the late 1980s.
After police surrounded their vehicle, an altercation ensued in which Castellano accidentally fired multiple rounds, according to the lawsuit, hitting both DiBiase and Barone.
William Peterman, DiBiase’s Bronx attorney, said, “We are seeking fair compensation for what was clearly a wrongful shooting. He’s left with bullet fragments in his body. He has ongoing medical problems because of the shooting.”
Barone, who served as a police officer in Harrison for more than 20 years, suffered “serious and permanent career ending injuries” due to the gunshot wound, according to the lawsuit; specifically the ulnar nerve in his left arm was injured with bullet fragments that remain in his arm.
The Town of Harrison is listed in the lawsuit along with DiBiase due to the active civil rights case that DiBiase has against the town. A town attorney said Harrison also has asked the court to award any judgment in DiBiase’s lawsuit to Barone.
Although DiBiase pleaded guilty to weapons and federal racketeering charges in February, which could result in up to 17 years in prison, he sued the Town of Harrison for assault and battery claims in addition to civil rights violations. He is currently incarcerated in Queens.