A former NYPD officer has been sentenced to over four years in jail for a racially-charged false arrest, and for assaulting another man who he believed stole his snowplow equipment. Michael Daragjati, 33, was arrested last October after he and his partner stopped 32-year-old African-American Kenrick Gray in Staten Island on April 15, 2011; Daragjati fabricated charges against him, keeping the victim in jail for nearly two days. He later was recorded telling a friend on the telephone that he had just “fried another n——-.” “I screwed up now. It’s all over—my career is over," Daragjati said in court as the verdict was handed down.

Daragjati wrote a letter to the judge explaining his use of the N-word, asking for leniency: “I did not use the word out of racist motivation, but instead as part of the culture I was accustomed to...It was used as an ignorant reference to those people on the street because of their disrespect for the community and members of law enforcement." The judge had him read it outloud, then responded: “My goodness, sir, you just made the worst argument that a police officer could make.” Daragjati was sentenced to nine months in jail for violating Gray's civil rights.

In addition, Daragjati was sentenced to an additional 48 months in jail for assaulting and threatening a man in Staten Island in retaliation for the victim allegedly stealing his snowplow equipment. Daragjati pointed a gun at him, allegedly threatening to kill the suspected thief. Daragjati later threatened to commit further acts of violence against the second victim if he went to the authorities. “You don’t take the law into your own hands. It’s pretty basic,” Assistant US Attorney Paul Tuchman said at yesterday’s sentencing.
“He should know better. He’s a police officer.”