A Guyana-born New York Police Department (NYPD) officer was on Monday cleared of all charges for the fatal off-duty shooting of an unarmed motorist, the New York Post has reported.
The report also said that the Wayne Isaac’s not guilty verdict has sparked outrage among activists and the family of the victim, Delrawn Small, who was killed by the officer following a July, 2016 road rage incident.
According to the report, a panel of seven women and five men found Isaacs not guilty of charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter following nearly 14 hours of deliberation.
“Every piece of evidence pointed to a guilty verdict. Every single piece. He’s a murderer —that’s it,” the report quoted Victor Dempsey, the brother of Small, as saying.
“How the hell are we supposed to feel now?” he raged.
Small’s tearful sister, Victoria Davis, sobbed, “I don’t know what the hell happened in this system that they didn’t find him guilty.”
“He took everything from us!” she wailed.
The report said Isaacs, who had been a policeman in Guyana, had faced anywhere from 25 years to life behind bars if convicted on the murder charge. After the verdict, the newspaper said he smiled and hugged his friends and family.
Isaacs took the stand in his own defence and compellingly told jurors he feared for his life when Delrawn Small charged at his car just after midnight on July 4, and claiming the father of two screamed, “I’m gonna (expletive) kill you” as he punched him in the face.
The 38-year-old lawman admitted to firing three shots at Small, all of which hit him.
But after the verdict, furious onlookers lashed out Isaacs and the jury.
“Are you (expletive) kidding me?” shouted Black Lives Matter President Hawk Newsome. “No! You’re a murderer!”
Newsome turned to the jury and cried, “You let him get away with it! The whole system is corrupt.”
As Isaacs left the courthouse, an onlooker shouted, “I hope you burn in hell!”
The officer looked away as he was escorted onto an escalator outside.
Prosecutors allege that Small never punched Isaacs.
Isaacs was the first officer to be tried under an executive ruling by Governor Andrew Cuomo that gives the Attorney General’s office the power to prosecute officers involved in civilian deaths.
After the verdict, Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Alexander Jeong told Isaacs, “I’m sure it was difficult for you… Only you know what happened out there.”
He added, “No one’s passing any judgement — we can only hope that there are no incidents like this in the future.”