ITHACA, N.Y. — On April 6, Ithaca Police charged a woman with two felony counts of attempted assault following an altercation on the Ithaca Commons. According to police, the woman interfered with an arrest and attacked officers in a scene they described as “chaotic.” Attorney Edward Kopko, who is representing the woman charged, says “the prosecution is totally unwarranted.”
The incident took place at about 1:20 a.m. Saturday, April 6, after which police charged 22-year-old Rose de Groat, of Ithaca, with two counts of second-degree attempted assault, a felony, and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. Two others were also charged with disorderly conduct after the incident, including 26-year-old Cadji Ferguson and 21-year-old Riley Johnson, both of Ithaca. Though initially not mentioned with the charges, police said later that they used a taser to subdue Ferguson.
De Groat was initially scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, April 17 but is now due to appear May 1. Kopko said Wednesday, “I can unequivocally state to you that Rose is totally without fault and will be demonstrated to be completely innocent of all these charges.”
According to a felony complaint for de Groat filed in Ithaca City Court, police say she “knowingly and intentionally” punched Ithaca Police Officer George DuPay in the back of his head and shoulders while he was trying to arrest Ferguson. The record further states that when another officer, Officer Benjamin Buck, then tried to arrest de Groat, she tried to punch him and “dug her fingernails into the left side of (the officer’s) face” and as a result, he was bleeding. In court records, DuPay reported that he sustained a headache after she punched him.
Shortly after the incident, videos surfaced on social media showing clips of the scene and the crowd, including one on Instagram that shows police officers taking a person to the ground. The Ithaca Voice has filed a freedom of information request for body camera footage, and Kopko said he expects body camera footage to be provided by the District Attorney’s office through the discovery process after the May court hearing.
In the news release issued by police April 8, and in the felony complaints there is no mention of a taser being used during the incident. However, when asked Thursday, April 11, if a taser was used when apprehending de Groat, Ithaca Police Officer Jamie Williamson, public information officer for the IPD, said one taser was “utilized to control Cadji and stop him from resisting officers’ efforts to secure him in handcuffs.”
De Groat was released on her own recognizance after her arraignment and is due to reappear in court May 1 for further proceedings. Ferguson and Johnson were released with tickets returnable April 24.
Ithaca Voice Reporter Devon Magliozzi contributed to this report.
Featured image: Photos show Rose de Groat in police custody on the Ithaca Commons published April 6. (Provided photos)