An NYPD housing cop might have violated department policy when he fired at a moving vehicle on the FDR Drive in Manhattan on Thursday night in an incident that closed traffic on the southbound lanes of the road for hours, officials said.
The plainclothes officer and his partner were struck and injured by the black BMW as it fled following a traffic stop in upper Manhattan at 96th Street and Second Avenue, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan told reporters Friday.
The cops, who were not identified and were traveling in an unmarked vehicle, had stopped the BMW because it appeared to have illegally tinted windows, explained Monahan. When the officers approached the car they noticed a strong odor of marijuana emanating from it, he added. Cops believed the car was occupied by four people.
Speeding away, the BMW, driven by Veronica Jagdeo, 23, got on the southbound FDR and attempted to exit at a closed ramp at 15th Street near a Con Edison plant with the police in pursuit, Monahan said. The BMW stopped and the cops approached the vehicle again when it reversed direction, nearly striking one of the officers a second time, said Monahan.
The BMW then reversed back on to the FDR, at which point one of the officers discharged his firearm a total of six times as he stood on the side of the highway, according to Monahan.
After a review of body-worn camera images, Monahan told reporters, “It appears at this time the officer who discharged his firearm at the moving vehicle may have done so in violation of department guidelines."
Monahan explained that police can fire at a vehicle coming at them or ramming people. But when a car is moving away — which body camera video indicated was what happened on the FDR — it is not to be fired upon.
The cop has been placed on modified assignment with desk duties pending an investigation, officials said.
Jagdeo was arrested and charges are pending, said police. Her boyfriend Jason Mohammed, 26, who was a passenger in the BMW, showed up at a city hospital with what appeared to be a shoulder injury caused by debris, police said. Mohammed was arrested on an open parole violation warrant, said Monahan.
The BMW, which was abandoned a little further down the highway, was recovered by police. Cops were looking for the two other passengers, according to Monahan.
The officers suffered minor injuries in the incident and were treated and released, according to an NYPD spokesman.