updated 3/9/2009 5:25:31 PM ET 2009-03-09T21:25:31

An off-duty New York City police officer and three other men are accused of beating a man in an attack in which racial epithets were hurled at the victim.

Juan Nunez, of Freeport, and the other three are accused of attacking a 52-year-old black man with a bat, fists and feet outside a deli in Roosevelt on Long Island Sunday morning. The victim was hospitalized with non-life-threatening head injuries.

Police say that while epithets were used, they do not believe the incident meets the legal definition of a hate crime. An investigation is continuing.

Nunez pleaded not guilty to assault Monday in First District Court in Hempstead. He has been suspended from the NYPD. His attorney declined comment.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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