UNIONDALE, NY. — A man whose testimony led to a powerful former police chief being placed in federal lockup has been injured in an altercation.
Even though that man, Christopher Loeb, 29, had said in the past that he'd feared the chief, James Burke, 51, would be able to harm him, even behind bars, a police investigation indicates that Loeb knew his attacker or attackers.
The police report also concludes that Loeb had voluntarily associated himself with them before he was physically assaulted, and that the assault may have been the result of Loeb's own actions.
Investigators are currently seeking two people Loeb had been with early on Thursday morning, when the attack occurred.
In a statement Friday evening, the Suffolk County Police Department said that it had responded to phone calls saying that there was a disturbance in front of a guardhouse at the gated community of Woodridge Strathmore Terrace in Mt. Sinai, Long Island, around 2:10 a.m. Thursday.
When officers arrived at the scene, they found Loeb and a security guard who'd been stationed at the guardhouse, injured.
According to police, their investigation shows that Loeb had walked out of the gated condominium complex about 40 minutes earlier and gotten into a vehicle driven by a woman he knows.
They drove off, and minutes later picked up a man. Together, the three ended up back in front of the condo in the woman's vehicle, in which some sort of physical dispute occurred.
A security guard in the guardhouse tried to separate them, and the guard was injured. Both the guard and Loeb were transported to a nearby hospital. The guard was treated for shoulder and arm pain and released. Loeb was also treated for unspecified injuries and released.
The man and the woman who'd been in the vehicle with Loeb at the time of the altercation left the scene before cops arrived.
The incident happened barely three days after Christopher Loeb had spoken in public for the first time since the torture he'd allegedly suffered at the hands of Chief James Burke and other officers from the Suffolk County Police Department in 2012. "As far as me being scared of the SCPD," Loeb had said at his news conference on Monday, "Yeah, I'm afraid."
PIX11 News sources who had been in direct contact with Loeb since Monday had confirmed that he had been physically attacked this week, possibly more than once. After an attack, Loeb had to have outpatient surgery, according to sources.
At his Monday news conference, Loeb had spoken in detail about the alleged torture he'd endured the night of December 14, 2012. It happened following his arrest for stealing a duffel bag out of Chief Burke's unmarked SUV.
The bag contained the chief's police gear, as well as, according to Loeb, under oath, sex toys and "nasty porn." Once Loeb was placed under arrest that night, according to testimony that witnesses gave to federal investigators, the chief oversaw a torturous beat down.
"They chained me to the floor for 10 hours, they beat me, assaulted me," Loeb said on Monday, describing his ordeal. "I could barely lift my neck. That's how low I was to the ground.
"Every time I asked for a lawyer," Loeb continued, "I got punched, I got slapped, I got kicked."
Now, Loeb has been beaten again, but apparently by someone he knows, rather than anyone with a connection to Chief Burke, according to police investigators.
Still, the chief is in federal lockup after a judge ruled last week that Burke should get no bail in relation to federal civil rights and conspiracy charges, on which FBI agents arrested the chief on December 9th. From the bench, the judge warned that Burke could wield extensive influence in Suffolk County, both in custody and out.
Loeb agreed, at his news conference on Monday, adding that he's trying to stay strong. "I'm scared, but I'm not running," he told reporters. "I'm following this through, I'm cooperating with federal authorities, and I'm seeking this out to the end."
The Suffolk County Police Department, in its statement on Friday, said it's continuing to investigate the early Thursday morning incident in which Loeb was involved.