3 New York Officers Whose Prisoner Escaped While Handcuffed Called ‘an Embarrassment’


Three police officers whose flubbed arrest allowed a handcuffed prisoner to run away on Tuesday, making him the fifth to escape from police since June, are “an embarrassment” to the nation’s biggest police department, its commissioner said.

Two detectives and a sergeant from the New York Police Department’s Warrant Squad arrested Gerald Brooks on Tuesday morning in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood, police said. Brooks, 39, had five warrants and had been arrested 54 times for domestic violence, marijuana, assault and unlicensed driving offenses, police Chief of Department James O’Neill said.

As the police were leading Brooks to a waiting police car, he shoved one of the detectives and ran off, O’Neill said. The officers gave chase, but Brooks, who was handcuffed behind his back, got away, police said.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said the officers’ missteps “will be dealt with with significant consequences within the department once we determine the circumstances.”

“They’re an embarrassment to themselves, to the unit, to this department, and they’re going to create a lot more work for this department as a result of their inefficiencies this morning,” Bratton said at a news conference.

Representatives for police detectives’ and sergeants’ unions did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Brooks was still on the loose Tuesday evening. He had no published telephone number, and the state court system didn’t list him as having any open cases so no attorney to comment for him could be found.

In August, a woman who claimed to be pregnant fled in handcuffs from a hospital. The month before, a prisoner ran barefoot from his cell at a Manhattan police station and another man escaped as officers were escorting him into a different police precinct. A man escaped in June when a handcuffed man shoved a police officer and took off, but he was caught about a month later. The other three suspects were caught within days of their escapes, police said.

“If the cops were just paying attention to their responsibilities, a lot of this stuff would stop,” Bratton said. “I’m very concerned when somebody with a pair of handcuffs, handcuffed behind them, can flee from three of my officers and they can’t catch him. I’m sorry — there’s something wrong there when that’s happening, repeatedly, over and over again.”

SOURCE: The Associated Press, Michael Balsamo