A teenager convicted of assault for dragging a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer with a stolen car was sentenced Wednesday to a year and a half to four years in prison, sparking outrage from police and family members of the victim.
The judge sentenced Justin Murrell, who is now 17 years old, to 16 months to four years in prison for driving away from NYPD Officer Dalsh Veve during a routine traffic stop in June 2017, dragging Veve for three blocks as he held onto the stolen vehicle for dear life.
The officer suffered severe brain damage from the incident that left him confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Murrell had initially faced a sentence of ten years behind bars, causing police officers and the victim’s family members to blast the judge’s decision.
The judge, with his ruling, “spit on every shield on every chest in this city,” New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch told the New York Post. “She spit on our hero.”
“Eighteen months later, we are still trying to put the pieces of our life together,” said Dalsh Veve’s wife, Esther Veve. “There have been moments when he can’t recognize his little [4-year-old] girl and you can imagine how that breaks our hearts.” Prosecutors have said he will never fully recover from his wounds.
Even Brooklyn’s Attorney General rebuked the judge’s decision, calling the ruling “regrettable.”
“This defendant had numerous contacts with the criminal justice system and was given numerous opportunities to get on the right path,” the King’s County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Oren Yaniv said. “Yet he has repeatedly proven that he has no regard for the rule of law and is a danger to society.”