A man who "had a grudge" against two police officers used his minivan last night as a weapon in an apparent attempt to settle a score. City Room reports that 59-year-old Joseph Dellutri began videotaping two plainclothes officers on a drug bust in Greenwich Village, until he "got increasingly close to the officers, to the point of interfering with their ability to carry out their duties."
What happened next is unclear; a police spokesman says that Dellutri simply walked to his minivan, "mounted the sidewalk" and attempted to run one of the officers over, while an NYU student who witnessed the incident said that the police officer whom Dellutri approached "threw the man to the ground," before getting into his car.
The witness, Mujtaba Qasim, said Dellutri "pulled forward, then pulled into reverse, then pulled over the curb and hit all three men while the cop was patting them down. It was amazing." According to officials, Dellutri "had an encounter with the partner of the officer who was struck," but that the records in that case were sealed. After Dellutri hit the officer, sending him flying into a fence at 73 Washington Place, he sped off, and the two officers followed chase in a cab until the man who was struck was in "too much pain," and the two drove to the hospital.
Dellutri was arrested in traffic after abandoning his vehicle, and the Daily News reports that he was taken to Bellvue for a "psychiatric evaluation." Meanwhile, whoever was attempting to buy the drugs that initiated the stop escaped. Regardless, we agree with the police official who commended the officer, who was treated with minor injuries, that he "deserved praise for his restraint in not firing his weapon."