An off-duty NYPD detective was arrested Thursday for firing shots at a thief who was stealing his personal vehicle, which he left running outside a Brooklyn fried chicken joint two years ago, law enforcement sources said.
Detective Steven Chase was charged with reckless endangerment after he fired two shots at the vehicle as it drove away from a Crown Fried Chicken on Glenwood Road in Canarsie on Aug. 13, 2020, the criminal indictment shows.
Chase, who had left the vehicle running, apparently ran outside and fired two bullets as he saw his vehicle driving away. The vehicle was found the next day several blocks away from the scene. It had a bullet in its rear but there was no indication that the driver was injured. So, what actions in this scenario were criminal. Certainly, the car jacking was criminal. But what crime did the detective allegedly commit?
New York law provides for two versions of the reckless endangerment. The first version of reckless endangerment in New York is a Class “A” misdemeanor under Penal Law 120.20 based on the risk of serious physical injury. The second version of reckless endangerment in New York i is a Class “D” felony under Penal Law 120.25 based on a depraved indifference to human life.
The reckless endangerment statute is extremely vague. The statute lends itself to selective prosecutions based more on the emotions involved in tragic cases rather than any real criminal act. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney often makes the different in obtaining the best result possible particularly during the earliest phases of the investigation. Here, the District Attorney is apparently going to argue that the detective’s actions were depraved. Unless there was a crowd a people that the detective could have struck when he fired his weapon, we think that obtaining a conviction in this case will be extremely difficult.
DEA President Paul DiGiacomo was critical of DA Eric Gonzalez for indicting the detective.
“The arrest of our Detective today is precisely what is horribly broken in the criminal justice system, and is a clear example that soft-on-crime District Attorneys like Eric Gonzalez are a part of the problem,” he said. “Violent, recidivist criminals freely walk the streets, while the DA — two years after the fact — gets a misdemeanor indictment against a dedicated NYC Detective, a life-long Brooklyn resident, and the victim of a crime. This arrest should outrage every New Yorker — and in particular the thousands of other victims of violent crimes in Gonzalez’s borough. He has made it clear that criminals run the streets — and the men and women who protect all New Yorkers are clearly in the crosshairs of his anti-police agenda.”
The car thief has not been arrested.
Source: New York Post
Michael Jaccarino, and the criminal defense attorneys at Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, PC, have decades of experience.
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