NEW YORK (AP) — A policeman involved in a road rage killing has been stripped of his badge and gun after a grainy security camera videotape appeared to cast doubt on an initial account of what happened.
Officer Wayne Isaacs was placed on modified assignment while the New York Police Department and the state attorney general's office investigate whether his use of deadly force in the off-duty slaying of an unarmed motorist was justified, police officials confirmed on Monday.
The shooting of Delrawn Small occurred on July 4 in Brooklyn while Isaacs was on the road in civilian clothes but still carrying a handgun, a common practice of off-duty NYPD officers. Small's girlfriend told police he was angry because he thought Isaacs had cut him off and got out his car at a stoplight to confront the officer.
Based on a preliminary investigation early last week, police initially said they believed Isaacs opened fire after Small reached through an open driver's side window and punched the officer while he sat behind the wheel of his car.
But the short black-and-white video, which surfaced on the internet, appears to show Small getting hit by gunfire the moment he walks up to the car window, with no clear indication that he first assaulted the officer.
Small, 37, can be seen recoiling and stumbling around before collapsing. The officer briefly exits his car and looks in the fallen man's direction but then returns to the car.
Officials said Monday that the video, first obtained by the New York Post, remains under review and that they want more evidence.
Investigators are "still seeking additional videos," NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said. "They're still seeking to identify (a third) motorist who was ... stopped at the red light that may have witnessed some of the circumstances that occurred there."
Activists and Small's family have criticized Isaacs for not taking steps to defuse the situation and demanded he face charges. The police union representing the officer has declined to comment.