Cops have killed 21 people in Brooklyn since Eric Garner’s death. Here’s where those cases stand.
Police-involved killings are among the highest-profile incidents in criminal justice. The Brooklyn Eagle has compiled a list of the people in Brooklyn killed by police since Eric Garner’s July 2014 death — and where those cases stand when known.
The list highlights the widely varying circumstances in which police have killed people in Brooklyn, from cops returning fire when shot at by suspects, to shootings of unarmed men, to circumstances including a drunk, off-duty cop who ran over and killed an MIT student.
The list covers up to Oct. 25, when a police officer shot and killed a man in Brownsville. We will continue to update this list for reference.
- Police had not killed anyone in Brooklyn since April 2018, an almost year-and-a-half stretch that ended when officers shot a man to death Sept. 2 in a backyard shootout.
- Unlike Garner’s case, every person killed by police in Brooklyn has been shot to death, except for one off-duty officer who ran someone over and killed him.
- Three Brooklyn officers have been fired for killing people in Brooklyn. The NYPD declined to comment on internal investigations.
- In one case, cops shot and killed a man whose help they had enlisted to break down a door to get to another suspect.
- In a two-week span in 2016, police killed four men in Brooklyn.
- No women have been killed by police in Brooklyn during the time span.
Francisco Carvajal and Rafael Laureano
Sep. 29, 2014.
Francisco Carvajal was shot and killed by three police officers in Midwood after breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and threatening her and the man she was with, Rafael Laureano. Carvajal, a bodybuilder, was carrying a knife in each hand, police sources told the Daily News. According to initial reports, Carvajal stabbed the other man in front of police, who then fired at Carvajal, killing him. Laureano was caught in the gunfire, and killed by a bullet to the back of his neck, the medical examiner determined. In 2017, the city paid Laureano’s family $1.6 million dollars as a settlement. They NYPD found no violation of policy in the accidental shooting of Laureano, according to an internal report obtained by NBC New York.
Oct. 3, 2014
Less than a week after cops killed Carvajal and Laureano, they shot another knife-wielding man, this time in Sheepshead Bay. Cops were called to Volchkin’s mother’s apartment twice that evening, and the second time, Volchkin was sitting on a couch with three knives next to him, according to the Daily News. Volchkin’s mother, who was in the basement of the apartment when her son was shot, told the Post cops should not have shot her son, or should have aimed for his legs instead of his chest. An internal police investigation found that the officer’s shooting was justified, but that officer Richard Moore and his partner should have called the NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit to handle Volchkin, who was emotionally disturbed. Volchkin’s parents filed a federal lawsuit against the city in the case.
Nov. 20, 2014
In perhaps the highest profile case of an unarmed man killed by police in Brooklyn, Akai Gurley was shot and killed by rookie NYPD officer Peter Liang in an unlit stairwell at NYCHA’s Louis H. Pink Houses. Liang was performing a “vertical patrol” in the housing development and fired his gun accidentally. The bullet ricocheted off a wall and struck Gurley, killing him. Liang was charged and convicted of manslaughter in Brooklyn Supreme Court, but the judge in charge of sentencing him, Danny Chun, reduced the verdict to criminally negligent homicide. Liang did not have to spend any time in jail. Both Liang and his partner, Shaun Landau, were fired from the police force, and the city paid out $4.1 million to Gurley’s family.
May 26, 2015
Dalton Branch was shot and killed by police in East New York after allegedly murdering his ex-girlfriend in Queens earlier that day. When police closed in on Branch in Brooklyn, he shot at them, cops said. They returned fire, shooting more than 20 times and killing him.
June 18, 2015
A 24-year-old NYPD officer, Filippo Gugliara, shot and killed Oleg Tcherniak after the man slashed him in the throat in Coney Island, DNAinfo reported. Tcherniak had gotten into an argument with a storeowner, and the officer responded when he saw Tcherniak push a 78-year-old woman to the ground and start punching her. Gugliara was still an active cop as of 2018, according to a Legal Aid Society database.
July 4, 2016
Shortly after midnight on July 4, 2016, Delrawn Small and off-duty Police Officer Wayne Isaacs both pulled up to a red light in Cypress Hills. Small got out of his car and approached the officer’s vehicle. Then the officer shot him dead. Isaacs was assaulted by Small and fired out of self-defense, according to initial reports. But video surveillance of the incident complicated Isaacs’ narrative when it showed how quickly he shot Small after the unarmed man approached his car. The case was brought by then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, under a 2015 directive from Gov. Cuomo that the AG investigate police shootings of unarmed people. But Isaacs was ultimately found not guilty of murder and manslaughter charges. The officer was suspended with pay, and it is unclear where his internal NYPD case stands. Small’s sister got 61,000 signatures on a petition demanding Isaacs’ termination from the NYPD. A federal lawsuit against the NYPD and Officer Isaacs is pending.
July 11, 2016
Orville Edwards was allegedly burglarizing a Gravesend home occupied by seven people when police responded to the scene. Edwards fled the home, jumping a fence before turning to point a gun at officers, according to DNAinfo. Two officers fired at Edwards, striking him twice and killing him. Police and the district attorney declined to comment on the status of any potential investigations into the officers involved.
July 16, 2016
Esquivel was run over by a drunk, off-duty cop in Williamsburg. Esquivel and three others were hit by Officer Nicholas Batka, who was fired from the NYPD just days after the incident. Batka received five to 15 years in prison for the drunk driving crash, after pleading guilty to charges of aggravated vehicular manslaughter and vehicular assault.
July 17, 2016
Two police officers shot Jermaine Johnson dead after he allegedly shot at least five times at the officers at a public housing complex in East Williamsburg. Police were responding to two 911 calls, one for a gunpoint robbery and the other for an emotionally disturbed person, according to the Daily News. A gun was recovered at the scene. Police and the district attorney declined to comment on the status of potential investigations into the officers involved.
Erickson Gomez Brito
Nov. 19, 2016
Two officers, Jennifer Garcia and Andris Bisogno, responding to reports of a suspicious person at Brownsville’s Van Dyke Houses got into a skirmish with Erickson Gomez Brito in a ninth floor hallway after asking him for identification. Gomez Brito allegedly got hold of one of the cops’ collapsible batons and began striking the officers with it, according to police. The officers then shot at Gomez Brito at least nine times, killing him. Gomez Brito’s family met with then-acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez in 2017. Gomez Brito’s family filed a civil action for $20 million against the NYPD and the officers. Police and the district attorney declined to comment on the status of potential investigations into the officers involved. Garcia is active with the NYPD as of 2019, according to a state payroll database.
Jan. 3, 2017
When police entered James Owens’ Canarsie apartment, he went and grabbed a 13-inch knife. Cops tried to use a stun gun on him, but after it failed to make contact with his skin, Officer Patrick Gourlay shot Owens three times, killing him. Family members told the Daily News that Owens was 10 feet away from officers, and that despite holding a knife, he did not pose an imminent threat. They demanded charges against the officer who shot Owens. Owens’ family met with the Brooklyn DA in July 2017 to discuss the case. Gourlay remains active with the NYPD, according to a state payroll database. Police and the district attorney declined to comment on the status of potential investigations into the officers involved.
Jan. 4, 2017
Just hours after the shooting of James Owens, police shot and killed 18-year-old Joshua Martino after he allegedly fired four shots at a crowded Crown Heights nightclub. Martino turned to face the officers with his gun when they shot him, according to cops. Police and the district attorney declined to comment on the status of potential investigations into the officers involved.
Feb. 16, 2017
Police shot and killed 17-year-old Kadeem Torres in East New York after he pulled a gun on them and began shooting, police said. Cops said they were responding to a call about a gang shooting near the Cypress Hills Houses, according to DNAinfo. After Torres shot at cops, they returned fire. Torres ran, and a cop followed him into an alleyway where the officer shot and killed Torres. Police and the district attorney declined to comment on the status of potential investigations into the officers involved
Feb. 19, 2017
Days after Torres was killed, 18-year-old Sergio Reyes held up a Bushwick bodega for beer using a fake gun just blocks from his home, according to cops. When police responded, they found Reyes a few blocks away. They confronted Reyes and he aimed the fake weapon at them, police said. Reyes was shot 14 times, according to the medical examiner. Reyes’ family met with Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez a few months after the shooting. The family sued the city for $10 million. Police and the district attorney declined to comment on the status of potential investigations into the officers involved.
July 31, 2017
Cops fatally shot Dwayne Jeune, an emotionally disturbed man, after he allegedly charged at them with a knife after another cop had attempted to subdue Jeune with a taser, according to cops. The cop who shot Jeune had shot another man in a similar incident a year earlier, according to the New York Post. Jeune’s mother had called police to the family’s East Flatbush home because her son was behaving erratically. The Brooklyn district attorney declined to charge any of the officers in the case. Jeune’s family sued the city for $20 million, alleging the officers were not prepared to deal with an emotionally disturbed person. That lawsuit is pending. Officer Miguel Gonzalez, who shot Jeune, was still an active officer as of 2018.
March 5, 2018
An off-duty cop gassing up his car in Canarsie allegedly witnessed two men trying to rob the gas station clerk. The officer identified himself as police, according to News 12 Brooklyn. The two men then turned toward the cop, both armed, according to police. The officer then opened fire, killing 19-year-old William Simon.
April 4, 2018
Police shot and killed Saheed Vassell in Crown Heights in broad daylight after getting reports of a man with a gun threatening people. Vassell allegedly took a “shooting stance” when cops arrived on scene. But Vassell was not holding a gun, he was holding a metal pipe. After almost a year, Attorney General Letitia James declined to bring charges against any of the officers involved, though her office did find that information that was released to the media about Vassell’s mental health came from sealed records and “should not have been publicly released.” None of the officers who shot at Vassell have been suspended or fired, though Vassell’s family has called for their termination from the NYPD. The family sued the city for $25 million.
Sep. 2, 2019
Police shot and killed Brandon Clayton during a shootout in a Brownsville backyard. Police had originally tried to stop Clayton, whom they were suspicious of because he was wearing a mask on a warm night, according to cops. Clayton ran from officers and began shooting at them when they pursued, police said. Thirty minutes later, someone called 911 saying there was a man in their backyard. Officers responded and got into a firefight with Clayton, with a total of seven officers shooting at him. Clayton was killed in the shootout, and his gun was recovered at the scene. An NYPD officer faced criticism after being captured on video saying “there’s one less a–hole to sue us” while watching a recording of the shooting.
Oct. 15, 2019
Police shot and killed Nasheem Prioleau after he allegedly opened fire on a Gowanus block near the Gowanus houses, police said. Prioleau, an alleged gang member, had just gotten off parole on a robbery rap from 2014, according to the Daily News. About 30 rounds were fired in an exchange between Prioleau and the police, though it was not immediately clear who fired how many bullets. Prioleau’s family believes the police used excessive force in the shooting.
Oct. 25, 2019
A police officer shot Kwesi Ashun dead in a nail salon in Brownsville after Ashun allegedly hit the officer in the face with a metal chair, leaving the officer in a medically-induced coma, according to police. Ashun got into a fight with cops after they began to arrest his godson, who was urinating on the floor in the middle of the nail salon. Ashun had a history of mental health issues and was bipolar, according to his family.
The Brooklyn Eagle will continue to update this page as new incidents occur.
Update (Oct. 26, 1:00 p.m.): This article has been updated to reflect the most current list of people killed by police in Brooklyn since Eric Garner’s death.