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NYPD Officer Who Threw Cooler at Fleeing Man Indicted for Manslaughter

A police sergeant who threw a cooler at a Bronx man in August, knocking him off a motorbike and killing him, has been arrested and charged with manslaughter, assault, and criminally negligent homicide. The sergeant, Erik Duran, 36, was suspended without pay days after the episode in which he hit the man, Eric Duprey, 30, who was fleeing narcotics officers conducting a “buy-and-bust” in an attempt to arrest him, The New York Times reports. The charges were filed on Tuesday by the office of Attorney General Letitia James of New York, which began investigating the encounter shortly after Duprey’s death. The indictment charged Sergeant Duran with second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and first- and second-degree assault. The president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, Vincent Vallelong, called the charges a result of “overzealous prosecutors with a political agenda,” in a statement to The New York Post this week. Sergeant Duran was arraigned in Bronx criminal court and pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to court records.

The police said that Duprey had sold drugs to one officer, which prompted others nearby to move in to arrest him. Duprey sped away, but lost control after being struck by the cooler, then hit a tree and a car before the bike toppled and he fell to the ground, a surveillance video reviewed by The New York Times shows. He was pronounced dead at the scene four minutes later. Duprey’s death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner’s office. In the days after Duprey’s death, his family disputed the official accounts of what had led to the altercation with the officers. His brother, Ryan Rodriguez, told The Times that he and Duprey were lingering on the sidewalk on the east side of Aqueduct Avenue, “chilling and smoking,” when a group of police officers approached Duprey as he sat on a borrowed motorbike. Because the bike was not registered and Duprey was afraid that the police would confiscate it, he started the bike and raced north in an effort to outrun the police. In court, prosecutors said Sergeant Duran’s actions showed “excessive force while on duty.”


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