The NYPD officer who fatally shot an unarmed man in Brooklyn last Monday has been placed on modified assignment and stripped of his badge and gun, officials said yesterday. Wayne Isaacs will remain on modified duty until the NYPD and state attorney general's office have finished investigating whether he was justified in his use of lethal force to kill Delrawn Small.
The fatal shooting occurred just after midnight on July 4th, near the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Bradford Street in East New York. Small, 37, was in a car with his girlfriend and two young children, and Isaacs was driving home from his shift at the 79th Precinct. In an incident of apparent road rage, Small exited his vehicle and approached Isaac's car. Isaacs in turn shot him twice through the open window of his car.
Though police initially said that Small punched Isaacs repeatedly in the head before the off-duty cop shot, security video footage released later in the week appears to show that Isaacs shot Small practically as soon as he approached the car. Isaacs called 911 to the scene, and when EMS workers arrived, they pronounced Small dead.
Police Commissioner Bratton told NY1 that the decision to strip Isaacs of his gun and badge came after an internal investigation, but emphasized that the investigation is still preliminary.
"We haven't talked to the officer yet at the request of the attorney general," Bratton said. "We were waiting to basically look at the videos, which we looked at on Friday. We're still looking for additional videos. We've looked at every camera along all seven blocks of that incident and not talked to the officer. The officer did receive injuries."
Bratton added that investigators are looking for a third motorist who was apparently also stopped at the intersection when the shooting occurred, and who may have witnessed the fatal incident's unfolding.
"We use the term 'preliminary' because the first story is never the last story," Bratton said. "This one is one that's continually changing."
NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his intent to investigate the shooting the day after it occurred, per an executive order issued last summer by Governor Cuomo that appointed Schneiderman as special prosecutor on police-killing cases. Yesterday, Cuomo amended that executive order to include the investigation and, if warranted, prosecution of Issacs's actions on July 4th.
"He needs to be in jail," Vines said of Isaacs on Saturday. "He needs to be stripped from his titles. It needs to happen ASAP because my uncle is dead."
Experts have said they believe that Isaacs will be charged in some capacity following the NYPD's and attorney general's investigations, noting that "deadly physical force is supposed to be used as a last resort."