NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewel has shot down a request from the city’s largest cop union to block the watchdog Civilian Complaint Review Board from prosecuting an officer involved in a fatal off-duty shooting.
The decision, revealed Friday, paves the way for the disciplinary trial of Officer Wayne Isaacs. It also gives the family of Delrawn Small, the man Isaacs killed, a measure of justice they’ve awaited for six years, police accountability groups said.
Isaacs shot Small three times in front of the victim’s girlfriend, 4-month-old son and 14-year-old stepdaughter during a road rage clash at Atlantic Ave. near Bradford St. in East New York, Brooklyn, on July 4, 2016.
Police said Isaacs cut Small’s vehicle off at the intersection. Small, who was not armed, got out of his car and confronted Isaacs, punching the cop. In response, Isaacs pulled his weapon and opened fire, killing him.
Isaacs claimed at the time that he thought Small was someone he had arrested and he feared for his safety.
Isaacs was prosecuted by the state attorney general’s office and indicted by a Brooklyn grand jury but was cleared of murder and manslaughter charges at trial. He remains an active NYPD officer, officials said.
When the criminal trial ended, the CCRB recommended that Isaacs be hit with misconduct and other disciplinary charges for the shooting.
The watchdog group was going to prosecute Isaacs in the trial room at NYPD headquarters when Isaacs’ lawyer filed a lawsuit to kick the CCRB off the case.
When a judge dismissed the suit, Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch sent a letter to Sewell, asking her to use her authority to block the CCRB from pursuing the case.
“CCRB has nothing new to add to this case, which has already been fully investigated and adjudicated by the NYPD,” Lynch said. “The police officer was also acquitted by a Brooklyn jury. CCRB is simply looking for a third bite at the apple in order to justify their bloated budget and advance their anti-cop agenda.”
Small’s family was told Thursday that Sewell denied the union’s request, which relatives called “ridiculous.”
“Isaacs murdered our brother almost six years ago, lied about the incident and provided no assistance to our brother after he shot him three times,” Small’s siblings Victoria Davis and Victor Dempsey said in a joint statement. “Isaacs should have already been fired, and it’s outrageous that the police union continues to play games.”
The disciplinary trial has yet to be scheduled. The CCRB is seeking to have documents from Isaacs’ criminal trial unsealed before they can proceed.
“The CCRB is committed to moving forward with this case,” CCRB spokeswoman Clio Calvo-Platero said. “Our investigation found that Officer Isaacs committed misconduct when he fatally shot Delrawn Small and we are confident that our APU prosecutors will successfully prove this in court.”
Last February, the city settled a lawsuit with Small’s girlfriend, Zaquanna Albert, who witnessed the killing, paying out $125,000 in damages.