Well, this should make for an awkward week at work. Sergeant George St. Louis, 37, of Brooklyn, was arrested on domestic violence related charges at 11 p.m. Sunday night. The New York Post reports that Sgt. St. Louis allegedly held his wife captive in the bathroom for a short time, yanked her arm, and choked her. Though she did not suffer any injuries, St. Louis has been charged with unlawful imprisonment, assault, and criminal obstruction of breathing.
Unlawful imprisonment can be charged as either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class E Felony. The difference is whether the restraint “exposed [her] to a risk of serious personal injury.” Arguably, the Sergeant could be charged with the felony here, as he was allegedly choking his wife while he restrained her in the bathroom. Choking, obviously, can lead to serious injury or death. A class E felony can result in a sentence of up to four years.
Assault also comes in shades of grey, but St. Louis would most likely be charged with the least severe charge. Aggravated assault requires the use of a deadly weapon or the intent to cause serious injury, with such an injury actually resulting. His wife was uninjured. Assault in the third degree is a Class A Misdemeanor, which can result in imprisonment of up to one year.
Criminal obstruction of breathing (we call that choking back in the Midwest) is applying pressure to the throat or neck or blocking the nose, with the intent to obstruct breathing or circulation. Had any stupor or loss of circulation occurred, it would have qualified as strangulation. Since his wife was uninjured, St. Louis only faces a Class A misdemeanor, which again can result in imprisonment of up to one year.
The bottom line for Sergeant George St. Louis is that if he catches a break on the unlawful imprisonment charge, he will mostly likely be facing three misdemeanor charges with up to a year in jail for each if he is found guilty. If he doesn't, he could face up to a year in jail for two of the charges and up to four years for the third. Whether the district attorney cuts him a break or not will probably depend on the circumstances of the incident, as well as his prior criminal record, if he has one.
His career as a member of law enforcement however, is probably, like his marriage, on the rocks.
- Find a New York Criminal Defense Attorney (FindLaw)
- NYPD sergeant is busted on assault rap (New York Daily News)
- Cronyism to Blame for Firefighter's Deal in Hit and Run Homicide? (FindLaw's New York Criminal Law Blog)
- Long Island Fire Marshall Arrested for Child Sex Abuse (FindLaw's New York Criminal Law Blog)