New York judge filmed shoving police officer in brawl over parking space loses place on the bench

A New York judge who was censured in April after a video surfaced of him shoving a police officer amid a street brawl with his neighbors will be replaced on the bench.

Judge Mark Grisanti, an acting State Supreme Court justice in Buffalo and a former state senator, was not reappointed, a spokesperson for Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, told the Associated Press.

Grisanti, who was first appointed to the court in 2015, has been serving as a “holdover” since his term on the Court of Claims expired last year and will remain in his position until a new judge begins the term, court spokesman Al Baker told the news agency.

Grisanti’s attorney, Terrence Connors said, however, that the judge had yet to receive formal notice as of Wednesday that he would not be reappointed.

“Lawyers and judges who best know his work want him to continue on the bench,” Connors told the AP. “Even the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, after a thorough investigation, confirmed that, on balance, two hours of misconduct do not warrant removal from his position on the court.”

The judge’s name did not appear on Governor Kathy Hochul’s list of 25 judicial nominees that were considered on Wednesday by New York’s Senate Judiciary Committee.

Grisanti hit the headlines after he got into a verbal and physical brawl with his neighbors over a parking space in June 2020.

The judge called 911 after he saw the neighbor’s car parked near his own driveway, but before police arrived, he and his wife confronted and “yelled profanities at the neighbors, who responded in kind,” an April news release stated.

The altercation then escalated to the point that the two parties engaged in physical contact with one another.

Caught on body camera footage shirtless during the incident, the judge at one point shoved a police officer who was trying to put his wife in handcuffs and told the officer, “You arrest my f****** wife…you’re going to be sorry.”

He was then also put in cuffs and into the back of a police car, however, he was not charged.

Grisanti was also heard in the video telling responding officers he had relatives on the police force and kept on dropping names of high-ranking police officials and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

In April this year, the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct voted to censure the judge, but declined the administrator’s recommendation that he be removed from office.

Six commission members voted for censure, while four voted to remove the judge.

The commission found that Grisanti displayed “especially poor judgment” for his actions during the incident under four years ago, the release said.

The commission also pointed to other faults surrounding Grisanti, as he allegedly also participated in cases involving an attorney with whom he had an ongoing financial relationship.

However, the commission cited some circumstances surrounding the brawl incident, including the judge having a genuine concern for his wife after being taken to the ground by an officer and happening in the context of a long-standing feud with the neighbors involved.

They therefore stated that the removal of Grisanti from judicial office was not warranted for this incident.