There will be no charges for anyone involved in the troubling death of Michael Sapp outside The Charleston. As Gothamist reports, the bouncer who delivered the blow says he was acting in self defense and single punches that result in death are a misdemeanor in New York.
Police and prosecutors know who killed Michael Sapp, 33, outside the Charleston on Bedford Avenue in June, but he won’t be going to prison anytime soon. Sapp died following an hourlong series of fights in and around the dive bar at North Seventh Street, including one that a witness said involved 30 people, and a final attack that another bystander said “broke [Sapp’s] face.” […]
“We couldn’t prove it was unreasonable for him to throw that single punch,” Oren Yaniv said. “The DA must disprove self-defense. The defendant does not have to prove self-defense justification.”
Had they decided to prosecute, the most severe charge at the district attorney’s disposal would have been third-degree assault, a misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail. That, officials said, is because of New York case law that has been established saying single punches that result in death cannot be considered violent felonies unless the puncher intended to kill or seriously injure the victim.
In this case, the Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the bouncer’s blow and Sapp’s subsequent fall backwards onto his head killed him, according to the officials, ruling out the injuries from previous fights that left him covered in blood, and, according to one witness, “standing unconscious.”