BenSwann.com previously reported on a road rage incident last Monday involving a then-unidentified New York Police Department detective who snapped on an Uber driver who had motioned for the officer, who was attempting to park on the side of the road in an unmarked car without a blinker and appeared to be blocking traffic, to move aside. The officer reacted to the gesture by pulling over the Uber driver, who happens to be a recent immigrant to the US, and unleashing a profanity-filled, xenophobic tirade, which was caught on viral cellphone video by the driver’s passenger, Sanjey Seth. CBS New York notes that Seth, who was offended by the incident, released the video online and testified on Wednesday before NYPD’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, alleging that the officer violated NYPD’s courtesy and offensive language policies.
The New York Post identified the officer as Detective Patrick Cherry of the elite NYPD-FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, which operates out of controversial fusion centers and is tasked with investigating potential terror threats in New York City. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton responded swiftly to the controversy and announced at a Wednesday press conference that Cherry’s badge and gun had been stripped, that he had been placed on desk duty, and that he would be transferred out of his position with the department’s anti-terror division. Cherry, who currently faces 12 other similar verbal abuse related complaints, is under investigation by the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the Internal Affairs Bureau and, if found guilty, faces having misconduct charges listed on his permanent employment record.
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said at Wednesday’s press conference, “No good cop should watch that video without a wince, because all good cops know that officer just made their jobs a little bit harder… In that kind of encounter, anger like that is unacceptable. In any encounter, discourtesy and obscene language like that is unacceptable… That officer’s behavior reflected poorly on everyone who wears our uniform.” Commissioner Bratton also extended an apology to the passengers who experienced Cherry’s tirade.
CBS New York notes that Detectives’ Endowment Association President Michael Palladino defended Cherry’s actions, saying he was en route to visit a fellow Joint Terrorism Task Force detective in the hospital at the time of the incident and was under stress. “The past five days have been emotionally draining for the members of the JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) dealing with their fellow detective’s health. Despite what some people think, cops have feelings, too,” said Palladino, whose labor union represents Cherry.
Commissioner Bratton said that the NYPD had been engaging in an ongoing retraining effort to bolster its image in the community and that Cherry’s actions violated new policies. Said Bratton, “We are engaging in a major effort to provide additional training to our personnel on tactics in interaction with the public… That officer’s behavior violated every one of the tenets we are attempting to teach at the police academy in that three-day course that we are currently engaged in.”