Police brutality in NYC: Cop investigated in shooting of unarmed dad Delrawn Small

Video shows that the off-duty police officer who killed Delrawn Small lied

By Ben Norton
July 13, 2016 1:45AM (UTC)
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Surveillance footage showing Delrawn Small moments after being shot

The issue of police brutality has been revived in recent days, as videos of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have shaken the country.

More than 300 people were arrested over the weekend in protests against police brutality throughout the U.S. Tens of thousands held demonstrations and blocked roads, demanding political action.


One recent case, however, has gotten much less attention: The killing of Delrawn Small, a 37-year-old father of three, in New York City.

In a road rage incident on the early morning of July 4, off-duty police officer Wayne Isaacs shot and killed Small, who was unarmed, in Brooklyn.

Authorities justified the attack by claiming Small had punched Isaacs in the face. But surveillance footage later released showed that the police had lied about the incident.


The video, which was obtained by The New York Post, clearly show  Small was shot and killed within just one second after walking up to Isaacs' car.

The footage can be seen below, courtesy of Democracy Now.

Small was apparently angered when Isaacs had cut him off. The video shows that Small got out of his car and walked toward Issacs, whom he did not know was a police officer.


The second Small reached the car, Isaacs fired two shots through his window, hitting him. Small immediately stumbled to the ground. Isaacs got out of his car, tucked the gun into his waistband, and walked toward Small. He looked at the dying man before getting back in his car.

Zaquanna Albert, Small’s girlfriend, witnessed the attack from the car, along with their 4-month-old child.


On Monday, the NYPD announced that it had stripped Isaacs of his gun. He has been placed on modified duty and will, for now, be restricted to desk work, the New York Daily News reported.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating.

Victor Dempsey, Small's brother, said at a news conference that the video shows he was “point-blank murdered.”


“It’s time for us to get justice on it," Dempsey added. "Everything they told us from the very ­beginning is a lie.”

A 2014 lawsuit accused oIsaacs of a false arrest in which the suspect was “punched, kicked and struck several times in the head and body,” the Daily News reported.

The plaintiff said one of the police falsely arresting him called him a “ni--er.” The case was settled for $20,000.


Small's family says the shooting was a clear case of excessive force.

Democracy Now interviewed Roger Wareham, the attorney representing Small’s family.

"The video is very instructive in terms it shows that the cop had no urgency around what was happening," Wareham said.

"You see him, he gets out the car. He’s very casual. He walks over. He looks down... He doesn’t even bend over to touch him to see if he’s alive, and strolls back to his car."


Small's attorney stressed that, had Isaacs been a civilian, he would have been arrested for shooting an unarmed civilian, whether or not he had a license for a gun.

There's "always has been a double standard in terms of how the police are treated when they are involved in the shooting of civilians," Wareham said.

Incidents like this send "a message to the police department that they are apart from the same rules that affect everybody else in society."

He pointed out that, when there is not footage of these police attacks, there is virtually no attention to them. "It’s almost as if, if there is no video, there is no crime committed."


Police have been accused of cracking down on civilians who film these shootings.

Ramsey Orta, who filmed an NYPD cop putting unarmed black father Eric Garner in a chokehold and killing him, says he has been constantly harassed by police, and now faces four years in prison on drugs and weapons charges. Orta is the only one connected to the Garner killing who has gone to jail.

Chris LeDay, the Georgia man who first posted a video of the police shooting of Alton Sterling, also says he was detained by police the next day on false charges that he believes were a form of retaliation.

Early media reports on the shooting of Small uncritically repeated the police's version of the incident, before video exposed it to be false.


Wareham noted that the surveillance footage shows "the cold-blooded nature of what happened, and that the cop's attitude was, 'This was nothing more than if I had stepped on an ant.'"

Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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Black Lives Matter Delrawn Small Police Shootings