N.B.: This story was updated on Wednesday, Dec. 7, to include name of bar.
Four Belleville police officers were among five men arrested Monday, Dec. 5, in the aftermath of a fight at a North Arlington bar on Oct. 21, Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal announced.
Police Officers John Clarizio, 32, of Nutley, was charged with simple assault and hindering apprehension; Marco Zarfino, 24, of Belleville, was charged with two counts of simple assault; Jesse McKeough, 28, of Belleville, was charged with simple assault; and Giovanni Casillo, 39, of Wayne, was charged with simple assault. Vasilios Theofanidis, 39, of Lyndhurst, who is not a Belleville cop, was also charged with simple assault.
The arrests were the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Belleville Police Department.
Grewal offered the following description of the altercation and arrests:
The BCPO said it received information from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office that several BPD officers were in a fight involving civilians at Pourhouse 17, a North Arlington bar at 584 Ridge Road, at 1 a.m., Monday, Oct. 21. The fight began inside the bar, but the four cops and civilians were escorted outside by security. However, the fight continued outside.
Shortly thereafter, North Arlington and Lyndhurst officers arrived at the scene and took control.
The altercation sent one civilian to Hackensack University Medical Center with minor injuries.
After the fight was over, arrests weren’t made; however, it was later revealed Officer Clarizio provided false information to a Lyndhurst police officer at the scene – and thus, charges were filed.
The four cops and Theofanidis are all scheduled for a first appearance at Bergen County Central Judicial Processing, Hackensack, at 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 14.
Grewal thanked the BPD for its cooperation in the investigation.
Please check back with The Observer for more information on this developing story. We’ll be reaching out to the BPD and BCPO for additional details.