Patrick Cherry, a New York police detective assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force with top-secret security clearance, has reportedly been stripped of his badge and his gun and placed on modified assignment after verbally abusing an Uber driver on Monday. Officials said that Cherry “faces suspension, reassignment or loss of his clearance after an incident with an Uber driver” was captured on video.
The video was taken by Sanjay Seth, a passenger in the Uber car. Sanjay posted the video to YouTube—where it went viral. In the video, Detective Cherry can be heard shouting at the driver, using profane language, slamming the side of the car, and asking the driver how long he has been in this country.
Police Abuse of Uber Driver in New York City – March 30th, 2015
The altercation began when the Uber driver gestured to a detective in an unmarked car to use his blinker after he was allegedly attempting to park without using it, according to Sanjay Seth, a passenger in the car who uploaded the video to YouTube.
The video picks up seconds after the detective began yelling at the driver and mocking his accent, and also shows the unmarked car with lights flashing pulled over behind the Uber car.
… Throughout the tape, the driver is heard apologizing to the detective.
“Stop interrupting me,” the detective yells.
“I apologize,” the driver responds. “I’m sorry.”
“Every time I open my mouth, you have something to say,” the detective shouts.
The detective later says, “People are allowed to park their cars on the side of the street without your interference and then your opinion about what’s going on, especially when the person you do it to are the police. I don’t know where you’re coming from.” He adds, “How long you been in this country?”
Finally, the detective tells the driver, “The only reason you’re not in handcuffs going to jail is because I have things to do.”
CNN reported that Police Commissioner William Bratton appeared “visibly upset” on Wednesday when he announced that Cherry had been placed on modified assignment pending an investigation. Bratton told reporters, “No good cop can watch that without a wince. As all good cops know … the officer made their jobs a little bit harder. That kind of 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, who said the detective was on duty at the time, issued an apology to the driver and passengers.
According to NBC News, the “Civilian Complaint Review Board has taken over the investigation” into the video, which shows Detective Cherry verbally abusing the Uber driver “in an at-times xenophobic roadside tirade in the West Village Monday.”
Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, said in a statement that Cherry was “a person of good character and an excellent detective” who “should not be judged by one isolated incident.” He added, “I am not trying to minimize the significance of what occurred. I am simply pointing out that cops are just like everyone else. 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, that is why this incident is so newsworthy.”