Officer on trial for fatally shooting Delrawn Small in road rage incident said he had to ‘stop threat’
An off-duty NYPD officer on trial for gunning down a Brooklyn father in a road rage confrontation said he “had to stop the threat” that an enraged motorist posed outside his car.
“At that point, I thought I was going to lose my life,” he told a Brooklyn jury Wednesday. “Delrawn Small struck me, that’s the only reason I had to stop the threat of me losing my life.”
Isaacs, 38, took the stand in his own defense as he fights to avoid conviction — and a possible sentence of 25 years to life in prison — for the death of Delrawn Small on the corner of Atlantic Ave. and Bradford St. in East New York.
Small, 37, was leaving a barbecue on Williams St. with his girlfriend Zaquanna Albert in the passenger seat with his 14-year-old stepdaughter and their 3-month-old son in the back.
In emotional testimony last week, Albert said a speeding tan-colored sedan cut them off shortly before midnight on July 3, 2016 and she caught a glimpse of the irate driver — Isaacs.
The cop flatly denied her version of events.
“That never happened,” he said. “I was moving. I was driving with the flow of the traffic.”
The married father of two from East New York said he got off his shift from the 79th precinct and was planning to go to a barbecue in Springfield Gardens to meet up with friends from his native Guyana, South America, from where he immigrated from in 1999.
As he waited for the red light at Bradford St. to change, he said he noticed a “big guy” crossing the street and turn towards his car.
“He was laser-focused coming towards me. He wasn’t running but coming at me,” said Isaacs, facing the jurors.
“You could tell he was upset with me. At that time of the night, I thought maybe he recognized me from a previous arrest, could tell he was in a rage coming at me.
“I removed my firearm from the holster. Wasn’t sure what was going on or what was going to happen,” he said, demonstrating his right hand near the front of his waist.
He said Small approached his driver’s side window that was already down.
“He came said ‘I’m gonna f–king kill you.’ I turned my body to the left. Looking at me, he struck me right away.”
After the blow landed on his cheek, Issacs said he grabbed his service weapon.
“I discharged a burst of three, that’s how we are trained,” said Issacs, an NYPD office since 2013.
After firing the shots, he said he put his Nissan Altima into park and got out the car. He said he called 911 after seeing that Small had no weapon and was bleeding
“There was a lot of adrenaline pumping. I still wasn’t sure why I was attacked. I kept looking around to see if anything else would happen,” said Isaacs.
Small lost consciousness within 15 seconds and died between three and 15 minutes later, according to prior testimony.
Isaacs said he was taken to Jamaica Hospital to get headache medicine for the pain he sustained from Small’s punch to his right cheek.
Isaacs is the first officer prosecuted by the attorney general’s office under Gov. Cuomo’s 2015 executive order to investigate unarmed civilians killed by NYPD.
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