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NYPD cop shot 9 times at empty car in wild Brooklyn chase, loses 25 vacation days

A police pursuit of a crime suspect in a Honda CR-V brought a bad turn to the career of NYPD Officer Darrell Scraper, who lost 25 vacation days when his spotless disciplinary record was tarnished by charges he needlessly fired his gun nine times at the car. (Bernhard Richter/Dreamstime/TNS)

A police pursuit of a crime suspect in a Honda CR-V brought a bad turn to the career of NYPD Officer Darrell Scraper, who lost 25 vacation days when his spotless disciplinary record was tarnished by charges he needlessly fired his gun nine times at the car.

He missed every shot, New York Police Department investigators found. The CR-V driver got away, and Scraper had to take his punishment after admitting in the NYPD trial room that, in the words of the judge who heard his case, “he was wrong to fire his weapon” since he wasn’t in any personal danger.

The trouble began around 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2021 when cops got word that thieves in a Honda CR-V were rolling around East New York, Brooklyn.

Two NYPD officers pulled over the CR-V. Its driver fled, nearly mowing down one of the cops as he sped the car away, according to the department trial decision.

About a half hour later, Scraper and his partner spotted the CR-V near Jackie Robinson Parkway and Jamaica Ave., said reports at the time.

They pulled alongside, hoping to force it to stop. But the driver swerved into their patrol vehicle, knocking it into a light pole and a parked car. The vehicles were going about 40 miles-per-hour when they crashed, court documents note.

Scraper said his airbags deployed and there was smoke coming from the engine when he stumbled out of the RMP.

Once out of his car, he said he saw the CR-V “moving toward him with the engine revving,” according to court documents.

Scraper said he was stunned, and that he was “thinking the guy is going to run him over,” said a law enforcement source with knowledge of the case.

Fearing his life was in danger, Scraper opened fire on the CR-V. “There was nothing else (I) could do,” he told department investigators, stating that he fired at the driver’s side of the CR-V “as the car rolled slowly past him.”

Scraper didn’t realize when he fired his weapon that the Honda driver had gotten out of the car and was running away while the CR-V was still rolling down the street. It turned out the driver was the only person in the vehicle, the NYPD trial decision says.

Realizing the driver had fled on foot, Scraper ran after him — but the suspect got away.

The entire ordeal was caught on Scraper’s body-worn camera.

“The guy just got out of a 40 mile-per-hour impact and hit his head, so it was an innocent mistake,” the law enforcement source said of the gunfire. “But he still managed to radio for backup and render aid to his partner, who hurt his wrist. The judge took all of this into account.”

No arrests were ever made, said the source, who described the incident as a “white knuckle chase” that was approved by Scraper’s sergeant.

“The bosses were on the line saying, ‘Don’t lose this guy!’” the source said.

After reviewing the body-worn camera footage showing that he didn’t have to open fire on the CR-V, Scraper admitted at the departmental trial that he was “totally banged up” during the crash and that his “adrenaline was pumping.”

He also admitted he should have sought cover instead of opening fire on the moving vehicle, violating department policy.

NYPD policy forbids officers from shooting at moving vehicles unless something other than the vehicle is used as a weapon — but under a “carveout” to the policy, the department is allowed to review those shootings on a case-by-case basis, NYPD officials said.

In reviewing Scraper’s case, NYPD Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Trials Jeff Adler said the department policy banning cops from shooting at moving vehicles “is grounded in important safety concerns.”

“A vehicle that is fired upon may strike innocent bystanders if the driver loses control,” Adler wrote in his decision. “A moving vehicle presents a difficult target, increasing the likelihood that a bystander or other vehicle occupants may be struck by the gunfire.

“Although it is fortunate that no one was hit by a bullet or the vehicle here, it remains troubling that (Scraper) discharged his firearm nine times at the Honda, and there needs to be appropriate accountability,” he wrote.

The NYPD’s departmental prosecutor wanted Scraper to be put on dismissal probation, and to lose 30 vacation days.

But Adler noted that Scraper, who joined the department in 2010, had no previous disciplinary record, and has received “consistently strong” performance evaluations — including ratings of “exceptional” in 2022 and “exceeds expectations” in 2020 and 2021.

That led the judge to state that probation was “not warranted.” He recommend Scraper be docked 25 vacation days instead. Police Commissioner Edward Caban approved the recommendation in October.

Officer Scraper’s attorney Michael Martinez declined to comment when reached. An email to Scraper was not returned.

Cops have opened fire on fleeing vehicles in a handful of cases over the years. In March, 2022, officers shot a New Jersey teen in the head after he was caught blowing several red lights in the Bronx and refused to pull his vehicle over. He was charging one of the cops with his SUV when he was hit.

The teen, Luis Manuel-Monsanto, was critically injured, but survived. Mayor Eric Adams defended the cop’s decision to open fire, claiming that Manuel-Mosanto’s actions were akin to a terrorist attack.


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