The family of Delrawn Small, a 37-year-old Black man shot by NYPD in 2016, rallied last Thursday with Public Advocate Jumaane Williams among other supporters. They learned that police union attorneys representing Officer Wayne Isaacs, who shot and killed Small, made a formal request to block the case.
“The family of Delrawn Small have now waited through two mayors and four commissioners for some semblance of justice,” said Williams in a statement. “Officer Wayne Isaacs has continued to evade consequence, and now, the PBA is attempting to again prevent accountability in this case by denying the CCRB its opportunity and obligation to investigate misconduct. I urge the administration to reject this effort and help Delrawn’s family find a sense of peace, years after their tragic loss.”
Small was shot by Isaacs on July 4, 2016, in East New York, during a road-rage fueled interaction with Isaacs. Isaacs had finished his shift at the 79th Precinct and was off-duty at the time of the shooting. Small was seen on video approaching Isaacs’ car, then being shot in the head and chest in front of his 4-month-old baby, teen stepdaughter and girlfriend.
Isaacs provided no aid to Small, who died at the scene, and did not tell 911 that he had discharged his weapon or that he had shot someone who needed immediate medical assistance, said Communities United for Police Reform (CPR).
Victoria Davis, Small’s younger sister and advocate, said the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) notified them last Monday of the police union’s attempts to prevent them from moving forward with discipline proceedings against Isaacs.
Davis feels that her advocacy has gone beyond just standing for her brother, but it’s still different when it comes to her brother. She considers it a labor of love. “Almost feeling like there’s a duty to service the community. These are things Delrawn would’ve done if he was here,” said Davis about the last five years. She absolutely wants to continue to pursue transparency and accountability on her brother’s behalf.
“I seek accountability. I’m a city employee just like Isaacs,” said Davis about getting Isaacs fired. “He’s being held at a higher standard than I am and we report to the same people. He definitely doesn’t deserve to take any taxpayer’s money, especially not mine. He can not get a dollar of my money towards his salary.”
New York State Supreme Court Judge Verna L. Saunders dismissed Isaacs’ lawsuit from March 2021 that asked to block his discipline trial, said CPR. Isaacs’ lawyer essentially tried to file a lawsuit again, this time going directly to NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell and asking that the CCRB be blocked entirely.
“The CCRB maintains that Officer Wayne Isaacs committed misconduct when he shot and killed Delrawn Small,” said a spokesperson for the CCRB.
“We believe the evidence is clear and will argue the case to Commissioner Sewell and the Trial Commissioner when our Administrative Prosecution Unit takes Officer Isaacs to trial. Mr. Small’s family has waited nearly 6 years to see Officer Isaacs held accountable for his fatal misconduct and the CCRB is committed to moving forward with this case.”
Admittedly, there has been a delay in scheduling a trial date because of internal litigation and evidence gathering, which has unfortunately added to the family’s frustrations, said CCRB.
Elected officials urged Mayor Eric Adams and Sewell to reject Isaacs’ request to block the CCRB’s disciplinary proceedings in a letter.
“The PBA request—made behind closed doors—is equivalent to trying to broker a backroom deal to prevent the disciplinary process from moving forward. As elected officials who have been working for a safer and fairer city, we are concerned by this news,” said officials in the letter. “The twenty-six elected officials signed on to this letter urge you to allow the CCRB to do its job and continue with the disciplinary proceeding against Mr. Isaacs. We respectfully request that you reject the PBA’s latest attempt to thwart fairness.”
Davis said that Mayor Eric Adams has “unofficially” spoken with her recently.
She believes that real conversations between on the ground organizations, youth, and police are key to solving the gun violence crisis. “I think that it’s definitely implied that when we’re speaking about gun violence, gun laws, and policies, that we’re definitely speaking about Black and Brown youth and we have to be very honest about that and say that,” said Davis.
Davis is also excited that the community has supported her through this journey and is unveiling a street naming in the name of her brother.
Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w