Home News Professor who teaches peacekeeping skills to cops arrested for assaulting boyfriend

Professor who teaches peacekeeping skills to cops arrested for assaulting boyfriend

Joann Baney, left, who teaches public safety personnel conflict mediation, has been charged with assaulting her boyfriend, Walter Frey, right.
Joann Baney, left, who teaches conflict mediation to public safety personnel, has been charged with assaulting her boyfriend, Navy Veteran and former NYPD sergeant Walter Frey, right.

Joann Baney, a Columbia University professor who trains city cops and firefighters how to calm down heated situations, was arrested on Valentine’s Day for beating her alleged cheating boyfriend. Her boyfriend, Walter Frey, is a retired NYPD sergeant.

As reported by the New York Daily News, Baney, 54, was charged with misdemeanor assault for slugging Frey, 46, while he slept inside her Upper West Side apartment about 10:45 p.m. Frey suffered cuts to the right side of his neck and to his left ear.

“I hit him because he cheated on me,” Baney told a cop who responded to the Saturday night assault, the court documents show.

Baney is a devoted defender of women’s rights and very outspoken on her views of domestic violence. Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs did not return a call for comment Tuesday night.

“It’s bizarre,” said a school source with knowledge of the incident. “Her specialty is about communication and building relationships with the public. In reality she has a hair trigger.”

According to Baney’s attorney Stephen Bilkis, Baney is asserting her innocence.

“We believe when the facts ultimately come to light and are brought out in the court she is going to be vindicated,” Bilkis said. “She’s very anxious to have her story heard.”

Baney serves as the faculty director of the FDNY Officers Management Institute and also sits on the faculty of the NYPD’s Police Management Institute, which offers professional degrees through Columbia’s Executive Education program.

The professor was released Sunday and has since left town according to a man at her apartment who identified himself as her brother.

“It was nothing,” he said of the arrest. “It’s been blown way out of proportion. That’s all we have to say.”

Frey, no stranger to the justice system himself, was arrested in 2003 for making harassing phone calls to a nurse, causing his NYPD career to be irreparably tarnished. According to his LinkedIn page, after he retired in 2011 he became an investigator and counter-terrorism analyst for the U.S. Navy. He had very little to comment when reached late Tuesday.

“Don’t call here again,” he said before hanging up.

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