NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The city of New York has agreed to pay over $8-million for an off-duty shooting incident involving one of its police officers.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, the unusual pay-out avoids a trial that could have been embarrassing for the department’s training program.READ MORE: 80-Year-Old Man Struck By Stray Bullet In South Bronx
Robert Borelli was given over $1-million from the city, his friend Joseph Felice is getting more than $8-million.
It’s a rare cash pay-out for the actions of an off-duty police officer who fired a full clip of ammunition into a stopped car in Pelham almost three years ago in a drunken stupor. He hit Felice multiple times.
“I heard a lot of popping noises, then I felt my arm explode — flashing noises and glass. It was total mayhem,” Felice said at the time.
He was too emotional to speak publicly again.
Borelli told CBS2’s Young that his family has to talk him through panic attacks and nightmares.
“It’s hard for them. They want to be sympathetic, but there’s nothing they can say. The settlement doesn’t fix that,” he said.
The day of the shooting, Officer Brendan Cronin was undergoing high-risk car stop training at the police facility in Rodman’s Neck in the Bronx. He did his drinking at nearby City Island during lunch and after work.READ MORE: Police: 71-Year-Old Woman's Hair Pulled, Head Punched At Herald Square Subway Station
In settling with the victims, the city officially admitted to no wrong doing, but Borelli said the unprecedented amount for an off-duty incident speaks for itself.
“You don’t pay out those sums of money without realizing your risk and culpability and some responsibility here,” he said.
The city’s law department would only say that the settlement was in the best interest of the city.
At least one police sergeant was disciplined for failure to supervise properly. Two trainers at Rodman’s Neck were also named in the suit.
Borelli said he wants the NYPD to address what he calls a culture of tolerating alcohol abuse.
“I only hope it’ll bring about change because if it doesn’t. it does nothing to me,” he said.
Cronin has been serving a nine-year sentence at Sing Sing Prison for first degree assault.MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
Later on Monday, the NYPD said it has counseling services for officers who are, “experiencing difficulties with alcohol.”