Last week, StolzenbergCortelli LLP officially sued the NYPD and Police Commisioner Bill Braton for failing to crack down on police officers' drinking which, we contend, led to a police officer's shooting of two New Rochelle men.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhatten, outlines how top brass failed to address "a longstanding problem of alcohol and substance abuse by its officers," which contributed to the shooting by Brendan Cronin wherein he shot at Joseph Felice and Robert Borelli, two guys coming home from a late night hockey game.
Officer Cronin fired his Department-issued 9-mm Glock 14 times into their car as they were stopped at a red light in Pelham. A video exists that shows the shooting.
Six of those shots struck Joe, causing serious, life-threatening and indeed life-altering injuries. His friend, Robert Borelli, who luckily avoided being shot, raced Felice to the hospital and saved his life.
The shooting happened after Officer Cronin, then 27, spent the day doing drills on vehicle stops at the police facility at Rodman's Neck in the Bronx.
Cronin, who we also named in the lawsuit, based upon our investigation, told investigators that he'd downed 10 drinks -- beer and whiskey -- at a City Island Bar with his supervisor, Sgt. Edwin Ching, in the hours before the shooting.
It is a NYPD Patrol Guide violation for an officer to get drunk with a supervising officer. It is also a Patrol Guide violation for a police officer to get drunk while armed, given that drunken shootings are a clear and foreseeable result.
Our investigation reveals that its common practice for officers training at Rodman's Neck to drink during luch break.
We have always been consistent with the prupose of our lawsuit: Everyone should agree that the NYPD must have zero tolerance for its police officers drinking on the job, including while undergoing training.
We are seeking $90 million in damages.
Cronin's criminal trial is most likely to begin next month.