A video showing a police detective berating an Uber driver in New York City has gone viral, and the NYPD said the video is under review by the Internal Affairs Bureau and that it will also be investigated by the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
The officer in the video, identified as NYPD Detective Patrick Cherry, will be transferred out of his post with the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Police Commissioner William Bratton said today.
Bratton also offered an apology to the Uber driver and the passengers for the detective’s actions during the encounter. “Anger like that is unacceptable in any encounter. Discourtesy like that and language like that is unacceptable. That officer’s behavior reflected poorly on everyone who wears our uniform,” Bratton said.
In the video, the detective stands at the driver’s door, shouting, “Do you understand me? I don’t know what [expletive] planet you think you’re on right now.”
Sanjay Seth confirmed to ABC News that he was a passenger in the car when the incident occurred on the West Side Highway, and that he took the video with his cellphone.
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier, “There’s just no place for any public servant to use discriminatory or negative language.”
The driver remains calm in the video and does not raise his voice to the detective. At one point, the detective slams the driver’s door closed.
The incident began when the Uber driver honked at the detective’s car after the detective was apparently trying to park without using his blinker, Seth said, and the Uber driver wanted to make it through the green light.
When the detective walks away for a moment after berating the driver, the passenger who is videotaping says, “That’s crazy. That’s really inappropriate.”
Another passenger says, “Abuse of power, obviously.”
The detective comes back and continues, “Now let me tell you something the next time you do it again.”
The driver interrupts and says, “Okay.”
The detective yells, “Okay what? You don’t let me [expletive] finish? Stop interrupting me!”
The driver apologizes to the detective.
The detective then says, “Who do you think you’re talking to here? … Every time I open my mouth you have something to say.”
The detective ends with saying, “The only reason you’re not in handcuffs going to jail … is because I have things to do, that’s the only reason that’s not happening.”
The Uber driver was never given a ticket, police said.
Seth testified before the CCRB today. If it finds the complaint against Cherry legitimate, the detective would get a mark on his record, but it is up to Commissioner Bratton to determine a punishment. Verbal abuse in and of itself is not a terminable offense, according to police sources. The CCRB would first have to find Cherry guilty of misconduct and then that decision would get forwarded to the commissioner with a disciplinary recommendation. Punishment for such a matter could include losing pay or vacation days.
Uber responded to the incident with a statement.
“The behavior in the video is wrong and unacceptable and we appreciate the NYPD investigating the incident. We are in touch with our driver-partner who was subjected to this terrible experience and will continue to provide any support he needs,” Uber told ABC’s New York station WABC.
Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, noted he is “not trying to minimize the significance of what occurred.”
“I am simply pointing out that cops are just like everyone else,” Palladino added. “They have families, friends, and other things going on in their lives, too, that may affect their behavior at times. There is no disputing that we are held to a higher standard and that is why this incident is so newsworthy. Detective Cherry is a person of good character and an excellent Detective. He really should not be judged by one isolated incident.”