The New York Police Department is once again at the center of vehicular controversy. This time, it's Officer Nicholas Batka, who ramped his Dodge Durango onto the sidewalk and into a group of pedestrians early Saturday morning, killing one and injuring three others. The incident occurred in Williamsburg near Bedford Ave. around 3:00 a.m. Batka, off-duty at the time, was intoxicated and scheduled to report for duty at 7:00 a.m. According to witnesses, the rookie officer attempted to flee the scene after flashing his badge, but was restrained by local residents.
Police are yet to identify the victims, but a report from New York Daily News says one appeared to have had “took a chainsaw to the knee.” Also that the pedestrian Batka killed was so badly impaled, EMTs had to cut out a section of railing at the scene. The crash was captured on a cell phone video, which has since been leaked. Batka, previously a member of the Manhattan Transit Task Force, is now suspended and being charged with DWI.
Saturday’s tragedy is just the latest in a series of recent automotive incidents involving NYPD personnel. Detective Jermaine Clark, also off-duty, was arrested for driving drunk June 27 after crashing his Honda into several parked cars near Brooklyn College just after noon. Last week, Officer Wayne Isaacs, again in plain clothes, shot and killed Delrawn Small, an unarmed father of three, using his 9mm service weapon during a road rage episode at Atlantic Avenue and Bradford Street. Isaacs initially claimed Small leaned into the car and assaulted him; surveillance footage released since shows Isaacs shooting Small in the head as he approaches the vehicle.
New York’s finest haven’t been doing much better outside their cars. On Wednesday, audio surfaced of an NYPD captain pressuring an inferior officer to engage in racial profiling. Three NYPD commanders were arrested on federal corruption charges June 20. The following day, police in Brooklyn launched an overnight manhunt, which included use of a search helicopter, to find Rhamar Perkins.
Perkins, who is 16-years old, had run away after jumping a subway turnstile.