East New York

Trial kicks off for NYPD officer accused of murder

October 23, 2017 By Paul Frangipane Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Wayne Isaacs is on trial at Brooklyn Supreme Court for the murder of Delrawn Small. Eagle photos by Paul Frangipane
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A full courtroom packed with police officers and family members of the victim listened as jurors heard opening statements in the trial of an NYPD officer accused of murdering an unarmed man while off duty during a traffic dispute in East New York.

Jurors inside the Kings County Supreme Court listened intently Monday morning as the prosecution and defense recounted the night officer Wayne Isaacs allegedly killed Delrawn Small.

“This case involved a brutal murder of an unarmed man,” Assistant Attorney General Jose Nieves told 15 jurors.

Surveillance footage shows Small, 37, stepping out of his car at a red light on Atlantic Avenue near Bradford Street on July 4, 2016 and approaching Isaacs’ window before Isaacs allegedly shot him.

“When Mr. Small got to the front driver side of the defendant’s car, this defendant pulled out his gun and fired three bullets into Delrawn Small’s body,” Nieves said.

Isaacs has been suspended from NYPD without pay, according to police. He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Defense attorney Stephen Worth alleged that the off-duty officer was assaulted by Small and was acting in self-defense.

“It wasn’t a conversation, it wasn’t a temper tantrum, it was an assault and that’s why Officer Isaacs pulled out his weapon and shot three times,” Worth told jurors. “This is quite frankly, ladies and gentlemen, an easy case for you.”

Victoria Davis, Small’s sister, shook and placed her head in her hands as the night was recollected.

Small was driving with his girlfriend Zaquanna Albert, 4-month-old son and 14-year-old stepdaughter after leaving a Fourth of July barbecue when Isaacs allegedly cut him off in traffic.

Supreme Court Justice Alexander Jeong ruled that the fact Isaacs did not perform CPR on Small is viable evidence in the trial, despite the defense’s objection.

“Maybe you can forgive him for not having a lot of compassion for the man who assaulted him,” Worth told jurors. “He immediately called 911 and says, ‘I was assaulted.’”

After being shot, Small stumbled between two nearby cars and died as his family watched.

“There was no assault!” said attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who is representing Wenona Small, the victim’s widow.

The widow filed a wrongful death suit that won’t go to court until after the criminal proceedings have ended.

“The legal team of Wayne Isaacs is making a very tragic mistake here. They’re saying that someone being punched in the face is justification for shooting someone three times in front of their child,” said Hawk Newsome, president of the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter.

Newsome was told to turn his Black Lives Matter shirt inside-out while multiple police officers in the audience were in uniform.

This is the first case prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office after Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a 2015 executive order that requires cases of police officers accused of killing unarmed civilians to be prosecuted by the AG.

Prior to opening statements, the defense objected to prosecutors showing graphic photos of the dead body, calling it an attempt to “impassion,” the jury.

Jeong ordered the photos be turned black and white and denied using a blown-up shot of the body.

Isaacs is out on $500,000 bail.

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