A junkie on a two-week-long bender in NYC reportedly dragged a NYPD officer with his vehicle, resulting in a second officer shooting him.
Years later, a Bronx jury awarded the man an $11 million sum for the injuries he sustained in the shooting.
In 2006, Raoul Lopez was left partially paralyzed on his right side after being struck by a round during his auto-related rampage. Only moments prior, he had begun dragging Officer Zinos Konstantinides with his Honda after a traffic stop threatened to expose his latest drug procurement.
Fearing for his partner’s life, Sergeant Philippe Blanchard fired a single shot from his service pistol, striking Lopez in the neck and landing him in the hospital.
While Lopez lost feeling in much of his body, the 19-time arrestee (with “about 13” convictions by his own account) was awarded $11 million by a jury after his attorney requested damages.
To add insult to injury for the NYPD, Blanchard’s heroic shot was deemed to be “not within department guidelines” and resulted in a criminal assault charge acquittal for Lopez.
“The split-second response by an officer likely stopped this driver from dragging an officer to his death, a response we believe was justified under the circumstances,” said NYPD spokesman Nicholas Paolucci in a statement. “We strongly disagree with this verdict and are reviewing the city’s legal options.”
Lopez’s lawyer, Brett Klein, told the New York Post that justice was served.
“Raoul Lopez was an unarmed motorist who was needlessly shot in the back of his neck during what the police described as a routine traffic stop,” said Klein in a statement. “We are grateful that a Bronx jury has held the City accountable for this wrongful shooting.”
Blanchard remains on the job, though his partner has since retired.
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