Published October 27, 2004
Emmy-winner Rip Torn (search) cursed like a sailor — and kicked like a chorus girl — when he was hauled in on drunken-driving charges earlier this year.
"He started kicking me in the ankles" at a Greenwich Village station house, a cop testified in Manhattan Monday, day one of the misdemeanor DWI (search) trial of the veteran actor, who recently won an Emmy for his work on "The Larry Sanders Show." (search)
Later that night, "Mr. Torn took a kick at [a highway cop] and fell right on his butt," added the cop, Officer William Bedell.
But Torn's lawyer in sisted that there's a good explanation for the kicking and the cursing — and it's not booze.
Torn was just tired and angry, not drunk, the lawyer insisted — and in fact had only one and a half drinks that January night before getting into a fender bender with a cabby.
"He's a 72-year-old man with his hands cuffed behind his back for the first time in his life," said defense lawyer Adam Levy, son of TV's Judge Judy (search).
Torn — who was introduced to jurors during voir dire by his real first name, Elmore — was "horribly mistreated" by cops who mistakenly blamed him for the car crash, denied his request for an immediate sobriety test and then wouldn't even let him go to the bathroom, Levy said.
The handcuffs were "cutting into his flesh," the lawyer complained. And his mistreatment came at the hands of bumbling cops who were "in a pickle" because they knew their celebrity quarry should never have been arrested in the first place, he said.
"Rip Torn lost all trust in the integrity and the honesty of the police department," Levy told jurors.
Torn is going to trial on the DWI charges despite a no-jail plea deal offered by prosecutors, and despite perhaps the most embarrassing straight-to-video performance of his long career — the 45-minute tape of the suspect refusing to take a breath or sobriety test.
"You're an egregious bunch of bulls---artists!" he rumbles into the camera at one point.
In the video, which was scheduled to be shown to jurors in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday, Torn also knocks into a chair, profanely threatens to send the cops to jail and apparently mocks the sobriety test by touching his index fingers together while exclaiming, "Boop! Boop! Boop!"
Jurors have already seen his mug shot, in which the wild-haired actor seems to have seen better days.