The role of a white NYPD detective in the 2013 shooting of an unarmed Black man has been called into question after the officer went on a racist tirade posted to his Facebook page.
According to the New York Daily News, Detective Gregory Gordon, 33, is in hot water after referring to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, as a “former crack addict.” Gordon also ripped NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton for refusing to let GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump speak at a precinct.
“Explain to me a time when a mayor’s wife has ever been able to weigh in on police related topics ever before?,” the detective wrote to his Facebook friends on Nov. 3, 2014. “Who cares what this former crack addict says!”
Earlier that year, the detective complained about a woman who told a TV news reporter that it was hard growing up Black, the publication reports.
“Are you f—— kidding me? Stop acting like anyone owes you anything,” Gordon posted. “Slavery ended 149 years ago.”
He also referred to the citizens he swore to protect and serve as “sheep.”
Back in 2013, the detective was involved in the non-fatal shooting of 33-year-old Michael Walker, who was suspected of attempting to commit an armed robbery. The New York Daily News reports that Gordon and his partner arrived at the Port Richmond section of Staten Island just before midnight on Feb. 3 to confront the suspect. The duo claimed Walker took off running up the block and pointed a hand gun in their direction. That’s when Gordon and his partner, Michael Smith, fired three shots, hitting Walker in the chest.
According to the NYPD, the shooting was justified. Gordon even received the 2014 Police Officer of the Year award from the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce in part for his role in the encounter, according to the New York Daily News.
Since the shooting, however, new details have emerged that undermine the NYPD’s initial claims of what happened that night. For example, hospital discharge records obtained by the New York Daily News poked a massive hole in the cops’ original claims that Walker was shot in the chest; medical records showed he actually suffered a “gunshot wound to the upper back.”
The NYPD also reported that a black Smith and Wesson 9-mm handgun and one bullet were found lying next to the wounded man at the crime scene, the publication reports. However, court documents from a 2014 federal civil rights lawsuit show the firearm was actually recovered about 20 feet away from where Walker collapsed on street. State Supreme Court Justice Stephen Rooney concluded the New York man didn’t have a gun in his hand when he was struck by the officer’s bullet.
“The defendant abandoned the weapon by either dropping it or throwing it,” Rooney said.
Details of the shooting become even murkier after an officer who responded to the scene testified that he saw Walker with “what appeared to be a firearm in his hand.” His initial testimony was later undermined by court records which showed he previously told a lieutenant “he could not say definitively” if he saw the New York man holding a gun.
According to the New York Daily News, Walker filed a lawsuit against the city in 2014, alleging that cops used excessive force. He also sought $25 million in damages.
Walker’s lawyer, Andrew Plasse, called Gordon’s Facebook comments “hateful and childish,” charging that they ultimately eroded the NYPD’s claim’s about the 2013 shooting. The inflammatory remarks were first reported last month by the New York Daily News.
“I am sure Detective Gordon’s Facebook comments are not reflective of the vast majority of the NYPD, but it does bring into issue his credibility in this particular case,” Plasse said. “Michael Walker’s criminal conviction should be vacated in light of these recent disclosures.”
Walker pleaded guilty to attempted possession of a firearm and is currently serving a lengthy sentence at the Green Haven Correctional Facility in Dutchess County, the publication reports.
Marissa Carbonara, the sister of Detective Gordon, has since defended her brother’s controversial comments.
“What’s sad is ‘he’ spoke the truth on his private forum and some sad individual is trying to bring a good cop down,” Carbonara posted on the Staten Island Advance’s Facebook page Thursday evening. “Don’t people have anything better to do?!”
Per the New York Daily News, she insisted that her brother was simply exercising his First Amendment rights and went on to describe the person who reported the distasteful comments as a “trolling c—.”
This isn’t the first time a law enforcement official has expressed his/her racist attitudes in a public space. Just last month, Chicago cop Robert Rialmo, who fatally shot Black teen Quintonio LeGrier, was found to have engaged in a series of racially charged messages with a friend 10 days prior to the shooting, Atlanta Black Star reports. A hate crime charge was added to the family’s lawsuit against the disgraced officer.