East New York

Jury begins deliberations in killer cop trial

November 2, 2017 By Paul Frangipane Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Officer on trial Wayne Isaacs at Brooklyn Supreme Court. Eagle file photo by Paul Frangipane

After a two-week trial, a Brooklyn Supreme Court jury is slated to decide whether an off-duty NYPD officer was justified in killing an unarmed man in an East New York traffic dispute.

Prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office battled defense claims and attacked Officer Wayne Isaacs’ own testimony that Delrawn Small attacked him before he murdered him.

“On July 4, 2016, this defendant killed Delrawn Small, and he did so with absolutely no legal justification,” Assistant Attorney General Joshua Gradinger said in his closing arguments Thursday. “And after he did that, this man left him there to die in a massive pool of his own blood.”

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Isaacs, 38, has since been suspended from the force with pay.

In the trial that drew crowds of Small’s family and supporting police officers for Isaacs each day, testimonial and surveillance evidence recreated the night Small was killed in front of his children on Atlantic Avenue and Bradford Street.

While Isaacs was getting off his 3 p.m. to 11:35 p.m. shift at the 79th Precinct in Bed-Stuy and heading to Queens, Small and his family were leaving a barbecue, where Small obtained a blood alcohol level of .09, slightly above the legal limit.

Small’s girlfriend Zaquanna Albert previously testified that the cop of 3 1/2 years cut them off in traffic before pulling up to a red light four blocks down Atlantic Avenue. Despite Albert’s plea not to, Small got out of the car and approached Isaacs’ driver’s-side window.

“All you have to do to decide this case is decide what exactly happened at that window,” defense attorney Stephen Worth told jurors. “That day in July was not Mr. Small’s best day. On that day he was drunk, he was dangerous and he was assaultive.”


Isaacs, a Guyanese native who immigrated to Brooklyn in 2007, testified he pulled out his off-duty Glock 9mm as he watched Small coming, originally thinking he was crossing the street.

“As he get [sic] close, right up to the car, he was like, ‘I’m gonna f—g kill you!’” Isaacs testified Wednesday. “At that point, I honestly thought he was gonna kill me.”

Isaacs alleged Small lunged into his window and punched him before he shot the father in his chest, arm and abdomen, leaving him to stumble between two cars and bleed out in no more than 10 minutes.

“That was not a smart decision for Delrawn Small to get out of his car,” Gradinger said. “He didn’t deserve to die for that. And it certainly didn’t give this man the right to execute him because he got out of his car and walked over to his vehicle.”

Gradinger argued, accompanied by a blurry still of a video, that Isaacs rolled down his window as Small approached the car, which was inconsistent with the officer’s testimony that it was already down.

While Isaacs briefly checked the body and called 911, Gradinger told jurors to consider that the plainclothes officer said nothing about firing his gun or about Small being injured, instead saying he was attacked.

“He walks over to Delrawn Small’s body almost as if he’s checking out minor damage from a fender bender,” Gradinger said pacing around the room. “The words and the actions of this man on that 911 call are completely inconsistent with someone who is innocent.”

Worth said his client was justified in reacting quickly to Small’s alleged attack and not helping him after.

“There was no need to feel remorse because he didn’t do anything wrong,” Worth said. “He wasn’t going to be a punching bag for an irate drunk.”

A doctor who prescribed Motrin for swelling on Isaacs’ cheek at Jamaica Hospital testified that his injuries were consistent with an object striking him. He was treated about an hour and a half after the incident.

Isaacs is the first officer prosecuted by the AG’s Office since a 2015 executive order was passed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that gives cases of officers accused of shooting unarmed men to the AG.

Deliberations continued Thursday afternoon.


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