AURORA — One felony count has been dropped and another felony count has been reduced to a first-degree misdemeanor in the case of Aurora Police Officer Joseph LaPerna, who was charged after an early March road rage incident in Florida.
According to Lee County, Fla. court records, 49-year-old LaPerna now faces a first-degree misdemeanor count of improperly exhibiting a firearm. A felony count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon was dropped.
The latest court action was filed June 27. Aurora Police Chief Brian Byard said LaPerna remains on unpaid leave pending an administrative investigation and possible disciplinary hearing, which will take place after the court case wraps up.
Court documents do not indicate when LaPerna, who is a resident of Brook Park, must make his next appearance in court.
LaPerna was charged by the Florida Highway Patrol after they responded to a "highway violence" report on I-75 heading south toward Naples.
Authorities said LaPerna and the occupants of another car "became involved in a road rage incident" March 3, during which LaPerna allegedly brandished a Glock 43 pistol at the other car’s occupants.
He was arrested and taken to the Lee County Jail.
LaPerna was fired from the Aurora department in 2006 for another road rage incident, but was reinstated after negotiations and appeals with the police union, Aurora’s mayor and police chief and an arbitrator.
LaPerna’s personnel file contains several other instances where he was accused of wrongdoing after 2006, but Byard said none of the infractions rose to the level of a terminable offense.
Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400, ext. 4189 or email@example.com.