RIVERHEAD - A Nassau police detective was arrested in connection with a homicide investigation in Rocky Point, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.

According to District Attorney Tom Spota, two men were involved in a confrontation with Michael Murphy, 42, at the Rocky Point Ale House last October. Murphy, a father of two, allegedly brandished a knife during the confrontation.

Detective Karl Snelders, a 30-year veteran of the force, was charged with third-degree assault. Scott Loeser, a 53-year-old from Rocky Point, also faces an assault charge. Both men pleaded not guilty at their arraignments Tuesday and were released on their own recognizance.

Murphy had obesity, heart disease, hypertension and bronchial asthma — conditions that contributed to his death, according to the medical examiner's office. 

Snelders, who was off-duty at the time, allegedly tried to restrain Murphy until police arrived. Officials say Murphy died of cardiac arrest a short while later in an ambulance.

Nassau Police Chief Steven Skrynecki said in a statement that Snelders has been suspended without pay as the department conducts an Internal Affairs investigation.

Murphy's friends say he was outnumbered and didn't stand a chance in the altercation.

"They beat him," says Terry Foley, also of Rocky Point. "He wasn't a fighting type of guy. He was a mellow guy."

Fellow Rocky Point Ale House patrons remembered him Tuesday as a gentle giant who loved the New York Jets and frequented the bar.