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May 20, 1986
4 cops cited in a beating

Witness says homeless man was hit

by John Randazzo and Paul la Rosa
Four city cops were charged yesterday in connection with the alleged beating of a homeless man in Grand Central Terminal.

The Police Department's Internal Affairs Division charged Sgt. William Gans, a 12-year veteran, with conduct unbecoming an officer in an alleged attack with a flashlight on Ishmael Gonzalez, 31. Three other officers, on plainclothes duty with Gans, were charged with filing false reports.

On Feb. 5, Gans and the other three cops responded to a report of a man with a gun at Grand Central. While there, they saw three Metro-North cops escorting Gonzalez from the terminal.

Gonzalez became involved in an argument with the Metro-North police and, at that point, "four guys in plainclothes jumped on Gonzalez and threw him against a wall," according to George McDonald, an advocate for the homeless who witnessed the incident.

"I saw one of the plainclothes officers hit him with a silver metal object," McDonald said. "I told them to stop, and the guy who hit him came over and menaced me.

"He was yelling and screaming that it was none of my business."

A 2d witness
The incident also was witnessed by Jack Wheeler, a Houston lawyer. Wheeler told Internal Affairs Investigators that he, too, saw one of the plainclothesmen hit Gonzalez with a flashlight.

McDonald was arrested by the Metro-North cops and given two summonses. Before being led away in handcuffs, Wheeler slipped McDonald his business card.

The three officers charged were James Conway, a 14-year veteran; Frank Cash, a 12-year veteran; and William Erdogan, on the force four years. None of the four was suspended from duty.

A police spokesman said the charges could bring "exoneration or dismissal" or a fine.

Lawyers for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association were not available for comment.

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