NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A judge sentenced the teen convicted of dragging an NYPD officer with a stolen car last year in Brooklyn to 16 months to four years in prison Wednesday.
In December, a jury found Justin Murrell, 16, not guilty of attempted murder charges stemming from the June 2017 incident.
He was convicted of first-degree assault in the case. He faced up to 10 years in prison because he was less than 16 years old at the time of the incident.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill blasted the sentence.
“A mere 16 months-to-4 years in prison for the criminal who caused catastrophic and lasting injuries to NYPD Detective Dalsh Veve is an absolute disgrace,” O’Neill wrote on Twitter. “Our brave and selfless public servant, his family, and all NYC cops deserve far better. Justice fell short today.”
There was thunderous applause from his fellow officers for Det. Dalsh Veve and his wife Esther as they left court in Brooklyn following the sentencing.
Inside the courthouse, there was furious anger from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association over that sentencing.
“This is wrong. This is wrong. This never should have happened,” said PBA President Pat Lynch.
Lynch called the sentence an outrage.
“This hero police officer stood the blue line every day to protect our rights. That mutt crossed the line every time he could,” Lynch said.
Authorities said Veve was looking into reports of gunfire in East Flatbush when he spotted Murrell behind the wheel of a stolen car, with three other teens inside.
When Veve attempted to stop the car, Murrell allegedly took off, dragging the officer for several blocks.
Watch: Det. Dalsh Veve Leaves Rehab Facility Surrounded By Family
After the verdict, the district attorney’s office released a statement praising Veve and condemning Murrell’s record and the judge’s verdict in this case.
“This defendant had numerous contacts with the criminal justice system and was given numerous opportunities to get on the right path,” said Oren Yaniv, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s office. “Yet he has repeatedly proven that he has no regard for the rule of law and is a danger to society.
“The judge should have therefore imposed the maximum sentence and it is regrettable that she failed to do so,” the statement read. “The rule of law, the safety of our police officers and the circumstances of this case demanded a more appropriate penalty.”
Veve suffered catastrophic brain damage and spent weeks in a medically induced coma. He’ll never recover fully.
The nine-year veteran, who has since been promoted to detective, was released from a rehab facility in May.
Police said Murrell, who was 15 at the time, had 11 prior arrests.
This morning, his attorney cited his young age and argued that he “didn’t plan and could not have anticipated what could’ve happened.
Veve’s wife Esther told the court of the family’s agony.
“We are still trying to put the pieces of our lives together,” she said.
The judge in the case, Ruth Shillingford, did not grant Murrell youthful offender status, but said she did consider his young age in the sentencing.
“She spit on every shield on every chest in the city. And she spit on that family,” Lynch said.
Veve’s wife had no comment after the sentencing.