Cop Shoots Cop During Brooklyn Drug Bust—So Why the Major NYPD Manhunt?

Mar 09 2016

Cop Shoots Cop During Brooklyn Drug Bust—So Why the Major NYPD Manhunt?

Bushwick, a neighborhood in North Brooklyn, was noisy Tuesday night. Residents who didn’t hear the gunshots certainly heard the sirens and the helicopters. The intersection at Troutman and Wilson was crowded with onlookers and investigators, following an incident in which a narcotics officer was shot during an undercover operation. I happened to be there to take some photos.

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Police gather at the site of the shooting.

The fallout was surprising, to say the least.

Reports emerged of two suspects arrested—one of whom had been wounded by the police—and a third suspect at large. Helicopters and dozens of police vehicles descended on the scene, which investigators blocked off with yellow tape. Police officers with dogs followed a scent to the local L-train subway station, with cameras conspicuously present.

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Investigators leave the scene.

A massive manhunt was clearly underway. New York media soon reported that an officer had been shot and that a suspect was at large. This prompted fears that a wild shooter was loose on the streets of Brooklyn.

But here’s where it gets tricky.

Soon it emerged that all of the shots fired had come from police—and that the injured officer was a victim of friendly fire from his partner. Police confirmed that the incident began over an $80 heroin deal. According to ABC 7 “neither one of the suspects had a gun.”

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Over a dozen police vehicles showed up.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said at a press conference: “Car stops are inherently dangerous and in this particular one they knew they had two criminals in the car.”

At the same press conference, NYPD Dep. Commissioner Benjamin Tucker said, “The detective on the passenger side of the vehicle was reaching into the vehicle to make the arrest when the vehicle backed up, and then it moved forward. At that moment both the sergeant that was standing on the driver’s side of the vehicle and the detective where he was, they fired their weapons, so the detective was hit in the shoulder, apparently by the shot that came from his colleague.”

According to ABC 7, the detective was “dangling” from the passenger-side window when the car moved; multiple outlets reported the detective was “dragged.”

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At least one helicopter was deployed to track down the “suspect.”

The Influence contacted the NYPD, who confirmed for us that no gun was found on the scene, and that the suspect was not wanted in connection with a shooting.

The DCPI spokesman was not terribly forthcoming when we asked if the suspect was dangerous: “It’s very subjective. It cannot officially be answered because we don’t know whether he is dangerous or not, but it is safe to assume that he might be. He was a wanted individual who was there at the scene when this incident occurred.”

Could the NYPD’s massive manhunt for this unarmed, nonviolent “suspect” have been a face-saving measure, after an $80 drug bust became an incident of friendly fire? It would appear that a lot of taxpayer dollars were wasted last night, as multiple investigators in white vests combed the scene and at least one helicopter was called out to look for the “suspect.”

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Cops direct traffic away from Suydam and Wilson.

Update—Thursday, March 10, 11 am:

Police are now questioning a third person, who is yet to be charged. Oscar Vera, 45, one of the “suspects” who was arrested Tuesday, has been charged with assault of a police officer, criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal sale of a controlled substance, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest. None of the suspects faces weapons charges or assault with a deadly weapon charges. Surveillance video of the incident doesn’t show an officer being dragged as media claimed (although the passenger side of the vehicle is not visible in the footage, so this cannot be entirely discounted).