Former bail commissioner arrested in attack on girlfriend

Posted: February 26, 2014

Former city Bail Commissioner Tim O'Brien was arrested Sunday for allegedly punching his girlfriend and choking her with a lamp chord - the second time he has been accused of beating the woman in the past year.

At a bail hearing Monday morning - which took place in O'Brien's old courtroom - he appeared on a close-circuit television from the 15th police district in Northeast Philadelphia, where he is being held on charges of aggravated assault.

According to a police report, O'Brien, 51, punched the 36-year-old woman repeatedly in her face, splitting her lip, at a house on the 2500 block of Castor Avenue early Sunday.

Then, the report says, O'Brien threw a lamp through a window, before wrapping the lamp cord around the woman's neck. He also choked her with his hands, the report says.

In court, O'Brien said that the woman had been stalking him and had been arrested last year for assaulting him in Atlantic City. On Sunday, he said, the woman bit him five times - once on his ear - and hit him with her high heel shoe.

He was arrested, he said, after flagging down police.

"She told them, 'He beat me up,' O'Brien said. " 'He's a former judge and thinks he can get away with it.' "

O'Brien was arrested in April after the woman told police he smacked her and pulled her hair.

The woman tried to recant her statement to police, O'Brien said in court. The District Attorney's eventually withdrew those charges.

On Monday, Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Erdos held O'Brien on $100,000 bail. According to police, he said, O'Brien had tried to sway the arresting officers by telling them about his "connections."

O'Brien served as Bail Commissioner for 20 years before declining to run for the position in 2013 - a decision he made before his first arrest.

According to a 2013 article in the Daily News, O'Brien had been eyeing a political future and last March hosted a fundraiser at the police union hall attended by Governor Corbett.

mnewall@phillynews.com

215-854-2759

@MikeNewall

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