The Civilian Complaint Review Board says they've opened an investigation into the death of Delrawn Small, nearly three years after the 37-year-old Brooklyn father was killed by an off-duty police officer in an apparent road rage incident.
The existence of an inquiry was revealed on Thursday, as advocates—including Small's sister Victoria Davis and Eric Garner's mother Gwen Carr—visited with CCRB officials to demand justice for victims of police killings. A spokesperson for the NYPD oversight board would not say when the investigation into Isaacs first began, citing department policy.
— CPR Change the NYPD (@changethenypd) February 28, 2019
Small, who would've turned 40 years old today, was fatally shot in July of 2016 after approaching an unmarked car belonging to Officer Wayne Isaacs, who allegedly cut him off. The NYPD initially said that Small, who was unarmed, punched Isaacs repeatedly before the officer fired his weapon. The account was later contradicted by surveillance footage, which showed Small falling back nearly instantly after approaching the vehicle.
Nonetheless, Isaacs was acquitted of all charges in November of 2017—the first and only case overseen by disgraced Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in his role as special prosecutor of police killings.
If the review board determines misconduct on the part of the officer, they could recommend disciplinary charges, potentially leading to a departmental trial. An administrative judge could then rule that Isaacs, currently an active duty police officer, should be docked vacation days or even terminated. But Police Commissioner James O'Neill has the authority to overrule the judge's findings—and indeed has done so in the past.
Reform advocates have long complained that the NYPD’s internal review process drags on unnecessarily long, allowing police officers to evade discipline for a range of misconduct, including fatal shootings. The CCRB first recommended disciplinary charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo in September of 2017, three years after he put Eric Garner in a chokehold leading to his death. Pantaleo remains on the force, and will face a departmental trial in May.