N.Y. Police Officer Undergoes Surgery after Violent Beating

Sept. 8, 2022
When a Canastota police officer responded to a report of a suspicious person in a parking lot, he was attacked and punched in the head repeatedly in the face and head by a man acting erratically.

CANASTOTA, NY—A Madison County police officer is recovering in the hospital after being assaulted by a man acting erratically Wednesday afternoon.

Around 2:12 p.m., the Canastota police received reports of a suspicious person hanging around the Liberty Resources parking lot on North Main Street, according to a news release from the village of Canastota.

The man was yelling, making loud noises and acting erratically, Village Administrator Jeremy Ryan said Thursday.

One officer responded to the call and approached the man, village officials said. The man, who was identified as 25-year-old Richard Branch, was still acting in a bizarre manner when the officer arrived, they said.

The officer began talking to the Branch and asking him to leave the property, Ryan said. The officer was not attempting to place the man under arrest, he said.

As the officer continued to approach, Branch began repeatedly punching the officer in the face and head, village officials said.

The officer, who has not been named, called for backup, village officials said. A short time later, a Madison County Sheriff’s deputy arrived and fired his stun gun at Branch to subdue him, they said.

The officer was transported to a local hospital where he underwent surgery, village officials said. His exact condition is unclear, but he remains in the hospital Thursday morning, Ryan said.

Branch, of Canastota, was arrested and charged with the following.

  • First-degree felony assault of a police officer
  • Two counts of robbery
  • Criminal possession of a weapon
  • Menacing
  • Attempted assault with intent to cause injury
  • Reckless endangerment

Branch was evaluated at Oneida Health Hospital for evaluation before being transported to the Madison County Jail. On Thursday, Branch’s bail was set at $50,000 cash and $125,000 bond, Ryan said.

Police ask that anyone with information or surveillance footage of the incident contact (315) 697-2240.


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