ITHACA, N.Y. — An Ithaca police officer was trying to break up a fight when she was punched in the face Sunday morning, law enforcement say in court records.

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Epiphany Kearney, 22, of Ithaca, has been charged with a violation for second-degree harassment and a misdemeanor for second-degree obstructing governmental administration.

Police said Thursday that Kearney punched an officer in the face, giving the officer a swollen, bloody lip.

Several commenters on the Ithaca Voice’s Facebook page questioned the police account of Kearney’s arrest. Court records made available on Friday reveal more information about the incident, including what law enforcement say was happening when the punch was thrown.

Epiphany Kearney
Epiphany Kearney

In court documents, law enforcement give the following narrative:

Police responded to the 100 block of South Cayuga Street at 1:24 a.m. and saw people a group of people arguing and becoming “increasingly hostile towards each other,” police said.

A female officer trying to clear the area began restraining a woman who was trying to fight with Kearney, 22.

Kearney then reportedly punched the officer in the face, enabling the unidentified woman in the officer’s grasp to flee the scene.

“Because of being punched by the defendant, the (officer) was unable to maintain control and custody of the aggressor female, who then fled the scene,” police say in the court records. “The defendant’s actions did impair and prevent … a uniformed police officer from conducting her investigation and effecting the arrest of the aggressor female.”

The officer did not require medical attention, police said.

After being booked at police headquarters, Kearney was released to a sober third party. Her first arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 12.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.