HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Police Kill Unarmed Man in an Undercover Operation
Pubdate: Fri, 17 Mar 2000
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2000 The New York Times Company
Contact:  229 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036
Fax: (212) 556-3622
Author: William K. Rashbaum


An unarmed Brooklyn man was shot and killed outside a bar on Eighth Avenue
in Midtown Manhattan early yesterday in a scuffle with three undercover
narcotics detectives, the authorities said.

The details of the shooting were sketchy last night and there were
conflicting accounts of the episode, but a senior investigator and a man
who saw the scuffle said the dead man, Patrick M. Dorismond, 26, who worked
as a security guard for the 34th Street Partnership, was angered when one
of the undercover detectives approached him and asked to buy drugs.

The witness, Kevin Kaiser, a co-worker of Mr. Dorismond, said he and Mr.
Dorismond did not know that the detectives -- all in plain clothes -- who
approached them were the police. Deputy Chief Thomas Fahey, a police
spokesman, acknowledged that the police "have no indication" whether Mr.
Dorisman knew.

But a lawyer for the detective who fired the fatal shot, Anthony Vasquez,
29, said his client yelled "Police!" after the scuffle began and before the
shot was fired.

It was unclear whether Detective Vasquez fired intentionally or by
accident. The shooting is being investigated by the department's Internal
Affairs Bureau and by the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau.

The shooting was the third in 13 months in which plainclothes officers shot
and killed an unarmed man. It came just as tensions that rose with the
acquittal of four officers in the shooting of Amadou Diallo and another
fatal shooting by police a week later had begun to ebb.

Like the earlier two incidents, this shooting involved a black victim.

Police Commissioner Howard Safir yesterday afternoon provided few details
about the shooting or the events that led up to it, and Mayor Rudolph W.
Giuliani, speaking with reporters, urged the news media not to judge the
officers before all the evidence is available.

"I would urge everyone not to jump to conclusions," Mr. Giuliani said, "and
to allow the facts to be analyzed and investigated without people trying to
let their biases, their prejudices, their emotions, their stereotypes
dictate the results."

The confrontation began about 12:30 a.m. outside the Wakamba Cocktail
Lounge at 543 Eighth Avenue, near 37th Street. Since his shift had ended at
11 p.m., Mr. Dorismond had been drinking beer there with Mr. Kaiser and six
tourists from Chile, according to a senior investigator and Mr. Kaiser.

The two security guards, who had changed into street clothes after work,
were waiting for a taxi when the undercover detective approached and asked
if they knew where he could buy marijuana, according to a senior police
official, who said that the detective thought he could buy some from Mr.

Angry words were exchanged, a scuffle erupted and the two backup detectives
came to the aide of the undercover detective.

Detective Vasquez, who was one of the backup officers, known as ghosts in
police parlance because they shadow the undercover officer to protect him,
shot Mr. Dorismond once in the chest from close range. The detectives, who
had made eight marijuana arrests earlier in the evening, were all assigned
to the Gang Investigation Division's narcotics unit.

The confrontation itself was quick and chaotic, according to investigators
and police officials, and early reports of the shooting that indicated that
the officer had shot a man who had tried to rob him were inaccurate,
officials and investigators said.

A possible reason for the erroneous reports was the signal used by the
undercover detective to alert his backups that he was in trouble. Wearing a
hidden transmitter that was monitored by the ghosts, the detective gave the
signal as the confrontation with Mr. Dorismond escalated. "What are you
going to do, rob me?" he said, signaling the other detectives that he
needed help.

But by then, the situation had already begun to career out of control.

In the hours before the shooting, the three detectives and the rest of
their team, a supervisor and several other officers, had made eight
marijuana arrests in the area around the Port Authority bus terminal and
had the suspects handcuffed in a van nearby, the senior official said.

The three detectives were going to their cars, preparing to leave the area,
when the undercover officer spotted Mr. Dorismond and Mr. Kaiser walking
out of the Wakamba, the official said.

The detectives were in the area because the police believe it is frequented
by Bloods gang members, but officials could not say whether any of the
eight people arrested were gang members.

Mr. Kaiser said he and Mr. Dorismond had been waiting for a cab for several
minutes when they were approached.

"They were asking for weed, narcotics," Mr. Kaiser said. "He brushed them
off, and told them to keep moving," he said of his friend. "He didn't want
to speak with them."

While Mr. Kaiser's account and that of the police are similar up until the
scuffle, Mr. Kaiser said the officer first took a swing at Mr. Dorismond
and the senior police official said Mr. Dorismond struck first.

The senior investigator said that several other people witnessed the
shooting and the events that preceded it, including an employee inside the
Wakamba. The investigator said that their accounts were all similar to Mr.

According to Mr. Kaiser's account, the three men closed in after Mr.
Dorismond first responded to the undercover detective's request for drugs
and then the argument escalated. "What you telling me?" one of the cops
shouted as the confrontation grew, Mr. Kaiser said.

The argument lasted two or three minutes, but Mr. Kaiser said he and Mr.
Dorismond never knew the men who were confronting them were the police.
"Patrick and one of the officers get real loud with each other, and one of
the officers swings at him first," Mr. Kaiser said. "Patrick proceeded to
swing back, and that's when the shot let out."

"The last memory I have of this man is him rolling on the ground, gasping
for air, with blood coming out of his mouth," Mr. Kaiser said of Mr.

The undercover detective and the second backup detective, whose names were
not released by the Police Department, told investigators that they
believed the scuffling was over when the shot rang out, but they did not
see the shot fired and did not know whether Detective Vasquez fired
intentionally or accidentally.

Mr. Morgenthau's office will present the shooting to a grand jury, a
practice that is standard in such police shootings.
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