NEW YORK — Two New Rochelle men sued New York City on Monday, saying its police department's lax attitude toward alcohol was partially to blame for an off-duty officer shooting repeatedly at their car.
Two lawsuits seeking unspecified damages were filed in Manhattan federal court on behalf of Joseph Felice, who was shot six times, and Robert Borrelli, who was not struck by any bullets as he sat in the driver's seat of his vehicle at a red light in Pelham in April 2014.
Officer Brendan Cronin has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, assault and drunken driving. Court documents said he told Pelham police that he'd had 10 drinks of beer and whiskey before the shooting.
Lawsuits by Borrelli and Felice said the city has a deliberate indifference to alcohol abuse by officers. It said that the day of the shooting, Cronin, a supervising sergeant and 10 officers, drank beer during lunch on a day when they underwent rigorous training at a police department facility. After finishing work, the officers and sergeant then went for drinks at a City Island tavern as they watched a hockey game, the lawsuits said.
The lawsuits said the sergeant and fellow officers failed to stop Cronin from driving his vehicle when he was obviously unfit to drive.
The city law office said it has not yet seen the lawsuit.