Eliel Cruz, email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2022
Family of Delrawn Small Demands Judge Danny Chun Release Records & Stop Delaying Discipline Trial Against NYPD Officer
New York, NY: The family of Delrawn Small and their supporters rallied outside Brooklyn Supreme Court today to demand that Justice Danny Chun release the records from Officer Wayne Isaacs’s criminal murder trial and stop delaying the scheduling of the discipline trial against Isaacs for killing Mr. Small in 2016.
The Civilian Complaint Review Board substantiated fireable charges against Officer Isaacs two years ago, but the scheduling of his discipline trial has been stalled while Judge Chun sits on a CCRB motion to unseal the 2017 criminal murder trial records. The judge has had the motion for over a year, in spite of the fact that NYS Attorney General Letitia James expressed her support in a letter to the judge, for unsealing the records.
“I am here today to demand that Judge Chun immediately release the records from Officer Isaacs’ murder trial so that his discipline trial can be scheduled,” said Victoria Davis, sister of Delrawn Small. “By refusing to rule on the unsealing motion for over a year, Judge Chun is protecting Isaacs, just like the NYPD and police unions have for years. You cannot imagine how painful it has been for me to wait day after day, with no clue as to when Judge Chun will make his decision about the CCRB’s motion.”
On July 4, 2016 Officer Isaacs shot and killed Delrawn Small in front of his four-month-old son, step-daughter and girlfriend. Isaacs had been driving erratically down Atlantic Ave and had cut Mr. Small’s car off several times. When Mr. Small approached Officer Isaacs’ car, Isaacs - who was off duty at the time - rolled down his window, shot Mr. Small three times and then left him to bleed out in the street without offering any aid, all in plain view of Mr. Small’s family. Mr. Small was unarmed.
“I’ve been fighting for more than half a decade for Wayne Isaacs to be fired,” said Victor Dempsey, brother of Delrawn Small. “This struggle has gone through four police commissioners and two mayors. Every step of the way, we’ve had to deal with ridiculous police union tactics and constant obstruction by the NYPD, the prior mayor, the City Law Department, and Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. It feels like Judge Chun just doesn’t care enough about Delrawn’s life and our family to be bothered to rule on the unsealing motion. It was a public trial. Release the records.”
Delrawn’s family has fought and overcome a series of delays for the last six and a half years. It took the CCRB more than two years to complete their investigation and substantiate charges, after which it took the NYPD three months to serve Officer Isaacs with the charges. Then, Officer Isaacs, with support from the police union, filed an article 78 lawsuit in an attempt to stop the discipline process.
Early this year, Delrawn’s family and organizers successfully fought to stop Isaacs and the police union from striking a backroom deal with NYPD Commissioner Sewell to prevent the discipline trial from taking place by removing the case from the CCRB.
For the past five months, Derlawn’s family has been asking the City Law Department, which is representing the CCRB in the unsealing motion, to send a letter to Judge Chun requesting a timeline for his ruling on the unsealing motion, but a letter has yet to be sent.
The Delrawn Small case is not the only police killing in which Judge Chun has protected NYPD officers. He also shielded the officers who raped Anna Chambers and former NYPD Officer Peter Liang, who killed Akai Gurley, from serving prison time. Sunday marked the 8-year anniversary of Mr. Gurley’s death.
“Judge Chun must end his pattern of shielding abusive officers, release Isaacs’ murder trial records, and stop prolonging Delrawn’s family’s suffering,”said Danny Kim, Organizer for Families and Cases at the Justice Committee, a member organization of Communities United for Police Reform. “Rather than facing consequences for his actions, Officer Isaacs has received tens of thousands of dollars in pay increases since killing Delrawn. Any officer who would so callously kill a civilian in front of his family is a threat to public safety. Isaacs should have been fired years ago and Mayor Adams and Commissioner Sewell must ensure it happens now.”
“Law enforcement officers with troubling patterns of discriminatory policing must be fired,” said NYC Comptroller Brad Lander. “The criminal legal system has shielded Officer Isaacs from disciplinary action for too long. Judge Chun must rule on the CCRB’s unsealing motion. Release the records from Isaacs public criminal murder trial and allow the CCRB to schedule the discipline trial without further delay to close this chapter and begin healing for Delrawn Small’s family.”
“No family, no community, can ever entirely recover from the loss of a loved one – but to deprive a family of even the small bit of peace that comes from delivering justice, is yet another tragedy unto itself,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Delrawn Small was unarmed when Officer Wayne Isaacs shot him three times in front of his baby, stepdaughter, and girlfriend. Now it’s over six years later and we’re still awaiting Officer Isaacs’ disciplinary trial. It’s unacceptable, and my heart goes out to the people whose grief has gone unanswered for all this time. We must move this process forward and remind this city that the lives of our people matter, and when they are taken too soon, there will be swift accountability.”
In 2016, Officer Wayne Isaacs killed 37-year-old Delrawn Small just one day before Alton Sterling was killed by police in Louisiana and two days prior to Philando Castile being killed by police in Minnesota. Officers in both cases are no longer with their respective police departments, while Isaacs is still employed by the NYPD.
Isaacs was charged and prosecuted for murder by the NYS Attorney General’s Office in the first and only case the office prosecuted after Governor Cuomo's 2015 executive order and the state legislature’s 2020 law authorizing the AG to investigate police killings. The Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) substantiated fireable misconduct charges against Officer Isaacs two years ago. In February the New York State Supreme Court Judge Verna L. Saunders dismissed NYPD Officer Wayne’s Isaacs’ Article 78 lawsuit, the police union’s baseless attempt to block his long-delayed discipline trial.
The Civilian Complaint Review Board filed a motion to unseal the criminal trial records, but has been waiting on Judge Danny Chun to rule on it for over a year.
About the Justice Committee:
Since the 1980s, the Justice Committee (JC) has been dedicated to building a movement against police violence and systemic racism in New York City. The heart of our work is organizing and uplifting the leadership of families who have lost loved ones to the police and survivors of police violence. We empower our community to deter police violence, hold law enforcement accountable, and build people-led community safety through grassroots organizing campaigns, community empowerment, political education, our CopWatch program, and by developing safety mechanisms and projects that decrease reliance on police. By building solidarity with other anti-racist, immigrant and people of color-led organizations, the Justice Committee seeks to contribute to a broad-based movement for racial, social, and economic justice.
About Communities United for Police Reform:
Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory and abusive policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.