Four New York City detectives have been placed on desk duty and stripped of their guns for reportedly drinking on duty two weeks ago to celebrate one officer's birthday at a steakhouse in the city's Washington Heights neighborhood.
Investigators are still looking into a more serious allegation that one of the officers, whose birthday it was, sexually assaulted a waitress at the restaurant during the course of the celebration, according to media reports.
But details about the incident, which reportedly happened at Parrilla, remain unclear. It isn't known whether the waitress, who hasn't been named and is reported to be 36, was indeed assaulted or by whom. Police are also investigating whether the restaurant's owner paid the woman to perform sexual favors, New York television station WPIX reports.
The Gothamist website reports the waitress as alleging that one of Parrilla's owners gave her $200 to drink with the group of officers, and that the detective who assaulted her was celebrating his 49th birthday.
"He told me this was his really good friend," Gothamist reports the woman as saying, apparently referring to the owner. "He was trying to show him a good time."
The waitress alleges that all four detectives "were drinking excessive amounts of wine."
The employee says she doesn't know if the officer assaulted her because she blacked out. On the advice of her lawyer, she did seek medical attention at a local hospital the following day.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, the waitress says the last she remembers is being in a room in the restaurant that had a bed and the officer was patting the bed and telling her to sit down.
"He was trying to kiss me and I was trying to ward off his advances," the Daily News reports the woman as saying. "He was like, 'Come here, everything's all right. I'm not gonna hurt you.' " The paper also reports her as saying that when she awoke, she was naked and her boss was touching her.
The police department's internal affairs office has interviewed the woman five times since the Feb. 16 incident. She has also spoken with the Manhattan district attorney's office, the Daily News notes, adding that no one has been charged with a crime.
Prosecutors and the NYPD are investigating and have declined comment, as has the restaurant's manager. A lawyer for the restaurant says its owners didn't assault the woman, New York radio station WCBS reports.
Media reports suggest that the waitress's account of the evening has remained consistent throughout the interviews and is the same as the one told to hospital staff.
The assault is the second such alleged incident involving officers at the 33rd Precinct, WPIX notes.
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