Ex-cop pleads not guilty in school gun incident

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The former New York City police officer who allegedly stormed into South Orangetown Middle School with a gun pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and other charges Tuesday.

Peter Cocker appeared at the Rockland County Courthouse in New City handcuffed and wearing an orange jumpsuit. His attorney entered the not guilty plea to charges of kidnapping, criminal use of a firearm and burglary.

"As for the defendant, it is our intention to put the full resources of the district attorney's office to bear on this violent felony offender," says Rockland County District Attorney Tom Zugibe.

Cocker was arrested during a confrontation June 9 at South Orangetown Middle School. Police say Ken Mitchell, the school district superintendent, tackled and disarmed Cocker after he entered the school with a gun. Officials say Cocker had a sick child and was upset over a swine flu letter Mitchell had sent to parents.

Gerard Damiani, Cocker?s attorney, says the former NYPD officer is on disability due to post-traumatic stress disorder but says he is well-respected by his family and the community.

"It's totally out of character, and that's one of the things we'll be looking into," Damiani says.

Cocker, of Tappan, faces up to 25 years in prison if he's found guilty. He is due back in court next week for a bail hearing.

For interviews about Peter Cocker's not guilty plea, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra, Ch. 612.

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