Brendan Cronin, a former NYPD officer who was convicted for a 2014 incident in which he got drunk and then randomly opened fire on two motorists, told a court-ordered psychologist that pressure from NYPD brass to make arrests and issue summonses drove him to drink.
According to the News, Cronin was interviewed as part of a $90 million lawsuit against the city and the NYPD by the two men Cronin shot at, one of whom was struck with six bullets and almost died. The suit, which also targets Cronin and two other police officers who were drinking with him that day, claims that the NYPD puts extreme pressure on its officers to make arrests and issue summonses, placing them in a psychologically unstable position that leads many of them to self-medicate. The suit also claims there is a pervasive culture of drinking in the department.
The psychologist's report said that Cronin began drinking to cope with the stress back in 2009. "Sleep difficulties commenced about one year after he started working at the 46th Precinct, when he was transferred from foot patrol to a car," psychologist Stuart Kirschner wrote, according to the News. "At that time, a great deal of pressure was placed on the officers to make at least five arrests and issue 10 summons. If that quota was not met, then the officer was in a 'vulnerable' position." (The time window during which this quota was supposed to be met was not described in the court documents obtained by the News.)
Cronin pleaded guilty in April to attempted murder for the incident, which occurred in April 2014. He was sentenced to nine years in prison. In pleading guilty, Cronin testified that he had gone to a firing range with a group of his fellow officers and then headed to a bar, where he got extremely drunk. Later, when he was driving around New Rochelle while off-duty, he got out of his car at a red light and fired 14 shots at a car. One of the men in the car, Joseph Felice, was hit six times and almost died. The other man, Robert Borelli, was not hit.
"It's becoming apparent the Police Department itself failed to understand and accept what happens when you get people operating under severe stress" and don't give them psychiatric support to deal with exposure to traumatic events, Debra Cohen, the attorney representing Felice and Borelli, said according to the News.