Witness IDs suspect in NYPD cop shooting trial
A witness in a police shooting trial in Brooklyn testified Monday that he saw defendant Luis Ortiz running from officers on the night NYPD Sgt. Kevin Brennan of Garden City Park was wounded.
Samuel Coard, 29, identified Ortiz from a surveillance tape that jurors viewed on an overhead screen during the trial in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
Ortiz is charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Brennan and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Brennan was shot in the head after chasing Ortiz up several flights of stairs inside a housing complex at 370 Bushwick Ave. in Brooklyn on Jan. 31, 2012.
The video was taken from inside the lobby of the complex minutes before the shooting. The tape shows Coard opening the front door to leave just as a man, dressed in a hoodie, passes him on the way in.
"He practically brushed up against me," said Coard, adding that he saw the man run to the rear staircase of the lobby.
Coard testified that he "continued out the door and proceeded to walk down the hill. I just stopped and observed everything that was going on."
Coard said he saw police rush into the building. He was then asked to identify the man he passed on his way out. He pointed to Ortiz, sitting with his attorney, John Burke, at the defense table.
Under cross examination, Burke questioned Coard about his police record, which Burke said includes several charges for drug possession and drug sales.
Burke said Coard was arrested by undercover police for the possession and sale of crack cocaine in February 2012. The attorney then asked Coard if the sale charge was dropped.
"You made a deal," Burke said to Coard. Coard did not answer.
Judge Albert Tomei instructed the jury that they could "consider that indication to the issue of credibility."
According to the indictment of Ortiz, he fired one shot. Brennan testified Thursday that he was shot after he tackled Ortiz on a staircase.
Brennan, who lost some of his peripheral vision and suffered spinal damage, returned to work earlier this year.
In other testimony, NYPD Det. David Mahoney of the Emergency Service Unit said when he and other officers arrested Ortiz in another Brooklyn building after the shooting, he was sitting on a bed watching television.