Cops praised for restraint, exemplary actions
Videos of police officers interacting with civilians (especially African-American males) have become notorious for what critics claim is the use of excessive force and trigger-happy behavior.
A video from a camera at a Brooklyn gas station showed a good outcome for law enforcement; Nassau County Police Department officers subdued and arrested—under potentially dangerous circumstances—a suspect in a stabbing murder.
The video was played repeatedly a news conference Nov. 15 in the Ceremonial Chamber of the Theodore Roosevelt Office Building in Mineola, where Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano presented five officers with citations for their actions. Matthew Fusaro, Andrew Miranda, Darnell White and Katy Calender earned the department’s second highest honor, the Medal of Distinguished Service (topped only by the Medal of Valor). Officer James Sanford received a Meritorious Police Award.
The video captured the culmination of a drama that had begun in the early morning hours of Nov. 4 at a Seitz Drive residence in Bethpage. There, according to Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, Richard Crumb, 44, fatally stabbed Maria Crumb, 41. Crumb had fled the scene when Second Precinct officers responded to a 911 call by the couple’s son, Robbie, 12.
First Precinct PO Sanford spotted Crumb’s car on the side of the Southern State Parkway near Newbridge Avenue. Sanford approached the 2014 Hyundai Sonata and noticed that Crumb was covered in blood. Crumb took off and was chased into Brooklyn by First Precinct officers.
After exiting the Belt Parkway, Crumb was driving north on Pennsylvania Avenue when at the corner of Flatlands Avenue he entered a gas station lot and ran over one of the pumps, sparking a fire. Krumpter declined to confirm a published report claiming that Crumb’s vehicle was struck by a pursuing patrol car, causing him to lose control.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” Krumpter told the Herald. “There’s obviously going to be a lot of litigation involved.”
The Hyundai smashed into another vehicle and came to rest, and was soon engulfed in flames. PO Fusaro approached Crumb’s car, gun drawn, and opened the driver’s side door. The suspect exited the vehicle and attacked the officer, and both fell, entwined, beside Fusaro’s patrol car. Officer Miranda joined the violent struggle, and soon officer White, in the words of Krumpter, “arrived at the scene, and after assessing the situation, did taser and neutralize the defendant.”
Crumb reportedly was transported to Brookdale University Hospital in Brooklyn with what sources described as self-inflicted “minor” stab wounds to his neck and wrists. On Nov. 9, he was arraigned bedside and charged with second-degree murder by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.
“All the police officers should be commended for their incredible restraint, heroic actions and exemplary decision making they used during the arrest,” praised Krumpter. “It should be noted that there were other civilians [present], and words cannot begin to describe the heroic actions in this particular case. All too often police officers in this country are criticized for use of force. Today in Nassau County, we are recognizing these officers for their significant restraint and good judgment.”
Krumpter added that the officers “would have been justified in [using] deadly force.”
Mangano said that Nassau “is one of the safest suburban counties in the nation, and that’s because of the dedication of our police force.”
Krumpter added that “the men and women of this department are second to none. They’re the finest police officers anywhere in the country and that was exhibited today in that video. The video speaks for itself. Nobody’s speculating [about] what happened there.”
As the conference wound down, Krumpter called the officers up to face the media, but changed his mind.
“The reason we don’t want them answering many questions is that this is an ongoing case and all of these officers will be testifying in court,” he said.