NEW ROCHELLE, NY — New Rochelle Development Commissioner Luiz Aragon was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in New Rochelle City Court on a single charge of Harassment, a violation, as a result of an incident last Friday involving an employee at the Trump Plaza.
A clearly emotional Aragon plead “not guilty” before Judge Anthony Carbone.
The alleged victim’s attorney called the charge a “slap on the wrist”.
“I hope the District Attorney will reconsider the charges,” said Richard St. Paul.
The court also approved a request from the Westchester County District Attorney for a Temporary Order of Protection but Carbone agreed to a request from David Rifas, Aragon’s attorney, to an exception to the Order of Protection to allow Aragon to continue to live in Trump Plaza.
Aragon said he was in the elevator when an employee directed a homophobic slur at him. Aragon says he responded by pulling the man off the elevator. The alleged victim claimed he was riding the elevator, delivering newspapers, when the door opened on Aragon’s floor at Aragon demanded he get off the elevator. The alleged victim denied using any slurs.
Both parties agree as to what happened next. As documented in CCTV video from the elevator obtained by Talk of the Sound, Aragon pulled the cart the employee was holding, then grabbed the man and threw him into the hallway. ￼The video has since been widely circulated on social media and other media outlets.
Aragon is due back in court on November 20th. Carbone who said he served for decades on the New Rochelle Planning Board and knew Aragon said he would decide then whether he needed to recuse himself from the case.
“He physically assaulted my client and threw him out an elevator,” said St. Paul. “If anybody else was to grab them and toss them in an elevator they would be charged with more than harassment.”
St. Paul said a preliminary investigation showed Aragon to have a history of menacing behavior. A month and half ago, Aragon threatened to have his client fired, an incident documented at the time.
St. Paul said there would be civil charges for assault, battery and defamation.