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NYPD Detective Apologizes for Expletive-Filled Tirade at Uber Driver

The apology came after the officer was stripped of his gun and badge and placed on modified duty after video of the rant went viral.
April 3, 2015, 9:30pm
Screenshot via YouTube

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The New York police detective who was stripped of his badge and gun after he was filmed unleashing an expletive-filled, xenophobic roadside rant on an Uber driver has said he is sorry for his behavior.

"I apologize. I sincerely apologize," Patrick Cherry said in a television interview with NBC4. "People shouldn't be treated that way. I let my emotions get the better of me and I was angry."

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"My intention was to be courteous and then we got into an argument," he added. "There was no intention to berate or hurt deeply the driver."

In the video, Cherry berates the driver who had honked his horn as the officer was attempting to park his unmarked car, without using his indicator. A passenger in the Uber recorded the incident on his cellphone and posted the video to YouTube, where it went viral this week and has been viewed more than 3 million times.

"When I walked up, I was uptight," he explained. "I wanted to know what the problem was. What did I do that was so wrong that I had to get chastised? I felt his driving actions were discourteous and impolite and when he stopped he said, 'I'm not going to give you anything."'

"I was upset that he refused to give me his license and registration, and I yelled inappropriately," Cherry added. "That's not who I am, that's not who I've been, and that's not how I conducted myself as an officer in New York City,"

Cherry's explanation follows another public apology by New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who censured Cherry and placed him on modified duty and removed him from the elite FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) he was serving on.

"I want to extend an apology to the driver of that vehicle and the two passengers in that vehicle for the behavior of that officer," Bratton said at a press conference. "That officer's behavior reflected poorly on everyone who wears our uniform."

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In the video, Cherry shouts at the unnamed driver and accuses him of committing "three traffic and law violations." The driver and passenger remain fairly calm throughout the incident.

Cherry also mocks the driver's accent and screams obscenities at him.

"I don't know what fucking planet you think you're on right now," the cop yells before slamming the car door and walking away briefly. He then returns with a traffic ticket and berates the driver again, demanding to know how long he's been in the country.

At one point the detective said he would arrest the driver, but isn't going to "because I have things to do… This isn't important enough for me. You're not important enough."

The passenger, Sanjay Seth, who uploaded the video, claims the Uber driver did nothing wrong, except honk his horn as the detective attempted to park his unmarked without signaling.

"It's not your fault, this guy is just a dick," Seth says calmly in the video. "He's on a power trip right now."

Bratton said the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau is currently investigating the matter.

"In that kind of encounter, anger like that is unacceptable. In any kind of encounter, discourtesy like that and language like that is unacceptable," he said. "No good cop can watch that without a wince. All good cops know that the officer just made their jobs a little bit harder."

Uber issued a statement that called Cherry's behavior "wrong and unacceptable," and expressed appreciation to the NYPD for investigating the incident.

"We are in touch with our driver-partner who was subjected to this terrible experience and will continue to provide any support he needs," Uber said.

In his apology Friday, Cherry said he will assume whatever punishment the department decides to give him and said his behavior is not typical of the men and women who serve in uniform in New York.

"You can't judge 3 minutes of tape that that is the common practice of the New York Police Department," he said. "At the end of the day it's simply one individual who got angry."