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NYPD sergeant faces charges for throwing cooler at fleeing suspect who died after being knocked off motorcycle

NYPD sergeant faces manslaughter charge
NYPD sergeant faces manslaughter charge 02:54

NEW YORK - An NYPD sergeant was arraigned on manslaughter charges Tuesday after his indictment was unsealed in the death of a 30-year-old man back in August. 

Investigators said he threw a cooler at the man's head during a drug bust. 

The emotions were high inside the courtroom for the police officer accused and the victim's family. Local activists said this is the first step of justice for the family and accountability on the system. 

The family of Eric Duprey and local activists walked arm in arm outside Bronx Criminal Court Tuesday as tense moments unfolded. the emotions for the family and the community come exactly five months since Duprey was killed when NYPD Sgt. Erik Duran threw a picnic cooler at his head

"This has been a terrible deal for them. Every day has been a living nightmare," Duprey family attorney Jon Roberts said. 

Duran, 37, had dozens of officers in court supporting him as he was arraigned on manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and assault charges. 

"Eric Duprey is dead because of Eric Duprey's actions. It's unequivocally clear watching the video that Eric Duprey was driving a motorcycle on the sidewalk of a crowded sidewalk in the Bronx, with children playing soccer on the grass right next to him," Duran's attorney said. 

The defense said Duprey was responsible for his own death. Prosecutors said Duran should have known better. 

"The defendant was aware of these risks and disregarded them in an act that, at best, shows supreme recklessness and at worse was an intentional act of violence," prosecutors said. 

Surveillance video from Aug. 23 showed Duprey's death unfold in real time in Kingsbridge Heights. The AG's office said officers were attempting arrest Duprey during an undercover drug purchase when he fled on his motorbike. The graphic video shows Duran, an undercover cop for the NYPD Narcotics Unit, forcefully throw a picnic cooler at Duprey's head. That's when Duprey swerved onto the road and slid under a vehicle after he was hit. Duprey was pronounced dead at the scene. 

"Tonight we will sleep well, but the community and the people must stay engaged because the attorney general's office who has encouraged to do this, took the first step. But we need to see this through," Chivona Newsome of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York said. 

Duran pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his bail was set at $150,000. 

He could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. 

He's scheduled to be back in court on April 18. 

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