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If you play, you pay! Off-duty officer nuts-up over club bill, arrested

by Jacquelyn Gray, Contributor

An off-duty correction officer battered a nightclub employee after racking up a lengthy tab early Sunday morning, arresting police claimed.

The New York Daily News reports Department of Correction (DOC) officer Scott Baxter, 36, is charged with grand larceny, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, theft of services, and assault stemming from the incident which occurred at approximately 2:20 am.

The off-duty officer is accused of running up more than $1,000 bill at Lavo Nightclub, located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, and socking a 31-year-old bartender before breaking tables and hurling chairs and glasses. Baxter is said to have ransacked the Italian restaurant and bar with the help of a group of unruly men.

An announcement released by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) said Baxter was arrested an hour after the alleged rampage.

According to Gothamist, Baxter faces five misdemeanors which have a maximum sentence of a year imprisonment each, one with a 15-day maximum sentence, and another with a max sentence of three months.

Baxter was arraigned on Sunday and released without bail, according to a Manhattan District Attorney’s Office spokesman. The Department has not suspended the 36-year-old. Baxter has worked at the DOC since November 2005, according to the Midtown Manhattan Patch.

In a statement obtained by Gothamist on Monday afternoon, DOC spokesman Peter Thorne wrote, “The vast majority of Department of Correction staff perform their duties with the highest level of integrity and Commissioner [Joseph] Ponte has zero tolerance for those who don’t.”

Baxter was reportedly involved in a 2012 civil rights lawsuit which alleged he beat Rikers Island inmate and chipped his tooth. A jury reportedly dismissed the suit.

Jacquelyn Gray is a New Jersey-based writer and journalist. When she's not covering crime, she's probably tweeting or doing yoga.