After stealing a car, a teen gang member dragged a police officer at 60 mph before crashing, causing the officer serious brain damage. Despite leaving the father and husband severely disabled, the judge gave the remorseless teen a generous deal.
With 11 arrests by the age of 15, Crips gang member Justin Murrell was just one wrong move away from ending up in prison for a long time. Unfortunately, the justice system doesn’t seem to think that permanently disabling a beloved police officer and family man is enough to keep the young gangbanger off the streets.
While responding to a house party over a noise complaint in Flatbush, NYPD Det. Dalsh Veve spotted Murrell behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle, the New York Post reports. Murrell immediately stepped on the accelerator, ramming into the officer as the teen fled the scene. Incredibly, Veve clung to the side of the car and managed to fire two rounds into the car, striking Murrell in the jaw and bringing the 60-mph ride to an end.
Veve fell from the vehicle, suffering serious head and body injuries just moments before Murrell crashed the stolen car and fled with two friends on foot. Murrell was arrested while trying to obtain medical treatment. Unfortunately, his victim wasn’t as lucky.
Veve was left with permanent brain damage, leaving him wheelchair-bound and almost entirely unable to speak, according to the New York Daily News. His wife, Esther Veve, explained that her husband requires round-the-clock care and sometimes doesn’t recognize her or their 4-year-old daughter, Darshee.
“Eighteen months later, we are still trying to put the pieces of our life together,” said Esther Veve of her hero husband, who prosecutors have said will never fully recover from his wounds. “There have been moments when he can’t recognize his little [4-year-old] girl and you can imagine how that breaks our hearts.”
Despite pleading with the court to impose the maximum penalty, which was only 10 years in prison, Esther and her husband’s supporters received worse news than they could have imagined. Not only was Murrell’s attempted murder charge reduced to first-degree assault, but Judge Ruth Shillingford handed the remorseless gangbanger just 16 months in a juvenile detention center with a maximum of 4 years. Understandably, the sentence sparked outrage, WABC reports.
The judge “spit on every shield on every chest in this city” with the ruling, railed Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch. “She spit on our hero.”
Judge Shillingford confirmed that her lenient sentence was, in part, due to Murrell’s age at the time of the crime. Incredibly, the teen expressed no remorse and never once spoke for himself in the courtroom but allowed his attorneys to do all the talking.
“I have never been so angry in my entire life,” Lynch said. “I’ve never sat in a courtroom where a judge sat and looked at a police officer confined to a wheelchair, heard the widow speak of how their lives have changed, talked about a 4-year-old that will not feel the hug of her father, and then say this mutt should be treated as a child. His decisions were adult decisions. The results changed lives. I warn the people of this city, in four years, this potential cop killer will be back on the street.”
Supporters are right to be outraged. While Justin Murrell may walk free in just a matter of months, his victim will likely never walk again. Murrell took away a husband, a father, and a courageous police officer.
However, the most disturbing part is that a little over a year in lockdown is more of a badge of honor for gang members like Murrell and an incentive to continue committing crimes without fear of consequences.