An NYPD detective from Suffolk County caught on video berating an Uber driver was removed from the department's Joint Terrorism Task Force and stripped of his shield and gun for behavior that "reflected badly on everyone who wears a uniform," Commissioner William Bratton said Wednesday.
The detective, identified by a police source as Patrick Cherry, was also put on modified duty and the Internal Affairs Bureau as well as the Civilian Complaint Review Board will investigate, Bratton said.
"No good cop could watch that without a wince," Bratton said of the taped encounter between the detective and the unidentified driver, which went viral soon after it was uploaded to YouTube Monday. "That officer's behavior violated every one of the tenets that we are attempting to teach at the police academy."
City Detectives' Endowment Association president Michael J. Palladino told the Associated Press that Cherry is "a person of good character and an excellent detective."
"He really should not be judged by one isolated incident," Palladino said in a statement.
It remained unclear Wednesday why the detective pulled over the Uber driver Monday. Cherry, in plainclothes, is seen in the 31/2-minute video belittling the driver's English while accusing him of traffic violations as the detective tried to park his car.
"Do you understand me? I don't know what [expletive] planet you think you're on right now," Cherry says in a booming voice, peering into the car through the opened driver's side door.
The driver repeatedly says "OK," apologizes and refers to Cherry as "sir."
Moments later, the detective slams the door and leaves. A passenger then assures the driver he is recording the encounter.
Cherry returns and less than a foot from the driver's face, again yells at him.
"I don't care what you have to say, do you understand that?" he says as the driver again tells the detective "OK."
"I don't know where you're coming from or where you think you're appropriate in doing that, it's not the way it works. How long have you been in this country?"
The driver tells Cherry he's been in the United States almost two years.
Cherry says: "The only reason you're not in handcuffs, going to jail and getting summonses in the precinct is because I have things to do. Because this is not important enough for me. You're not important enough."
In a statement, Uber spokesman Matt Wing condemned the detective's behavior and said, "We are in touch with our driver-partner who was subjected to this terrible experience and will continue to provide any support he needs."
With Anthony M. DeStefano