NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An NYPD officer on trial for killing an unarmed Brooklyn man in an apparent road rage incident has been found not guilty.
Small’s family was furious over the verdict. Moments after it was read, his sister, Victoria Davis, collapsed to the floor in the halls of Brooklyn Supreme Court, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported. Isaacs left the courtroom with a police escort while Small’s loved ones screamed “Murderer! Murderer!”
“Wayne Isaacs went home to his family, and he killed someone,” Davis said. “Delrawn didn’t kill anyone. Delrawn’s not a murderer. He is. So why did he go home with his family and Delrawn will never come home to us?”
“He said he seen someone walking across the street, unholstered his weapon and decided not to pull out his badge, not to roll up his window, not to drive off, not to show his department ID, but to pull a damn gun out? And he’s not a murderer?” said Victor Dempsey, Small’s brother.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he, too, was disappointed by the verdict.
“But we respect the jury’s determination and thank them for their service,” he said in a statement. “I also want to thank the family of Delrawn Small for their courage and perseverance in the face of tragedy. My office will continue to investigate these cases without fear or favor and follow the facts wherever they may lead.”
Small’s family called on Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill to “immediately fire” Isaacs from the Police Department, calling him “a threat to public safety.” Isaacs remains on non-enforcement duty without his service weapon while the NYPD conducts an internal investigation into the shooting.
Prosecutors said Isaacs was off-duty when he shot and killed Small during a road rage incident in East New York in July 2016.
But Isaacs’ attorney said the cop was only defending himself, arguing that Small was angry and legally drunk when approached Isaacs’ personal car at a red light.
“Office Isaacs did nothing wrong, and he deserved to be found not guilty,” said attorney Stephen Worth. “He defended himself, as anybody in his situation would, and he absolutely had the right to do that.”
Grainy surveillance video shows what appears to be Small stumbling and collapsing in the street. His girlfriend and children were in his car, witnessing the deadly shooting.
Issacs took the stand and said Small punched him and threatened to kill him. That’s when, he said, he grabbed his weapon and fired three shots, as officers are trained.
Prosecutors argued Small was not drunk. They also said Issacs never identified himself as an officer.
In a statement, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said there are “no winners or losers in a trial like this whenever a life is lost under any circumstances.”
“We are grateful to the jury for weighing all of the evidence in this case and for arriving at a proper and just verdict. No police officer wants to carry the burden of having killed a person under any conditions,” Lynch said. “But unfortunately, there is no script for police officers who have to take action when they are presented with dangerous circumstances either on or off duty.”
Issacs was the first officer in the New York state to be tried under an executive order giving the attorney general power to investigate and prosecute officers accused of killing unarmed civilians.
Small’s family praised prosecutors but said the jury failed them.
“Wayne Isaacs testified himself,” Dempsey said. “He sat on the stand himself and said what happened. What else do you need? He admitted to shooting somebody in cold blood.”
“Everyone in our family has to miss work just to come here just to find out that we did not get justice,” said Small’s daughter, Shondell Small.
Sanford Rubenstein, the attorney for Small’s family, said the case will now head to civil court, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.