Exclusive: Retired Corrections Officer Who Knew Delrawn Small, Killed By NYC 'Road Rage' Cop, Speaks Out Against Police Brutality
One week before Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were killed by law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, another tragic case of police brutality took place in New York City. In a road rage incident, an unarmed Delrawn Small, 37, was shot and killed by an off-duty cop in Brownsville, Brooklyn, less than a minute away from his home. Unlike Sterling's and Castile's deaths, Small's was not recorded via a witness cell phone. However, a surveillance camera above the intersection caught the incident and the footage it recorded has since been used to debunk some of the NYPD officer's claims.
The off-duty officer, Wayne Issacs, who is black, claimed Small, who was also black, punched him in the face. Issacs has since been stripped of his gun by the NYPD.
Small's family is demanding justice, and Frank Olivier, a retired corrections officer from Rockland County, is a powerful ally. Olivier met with Small's family Wednesday after Small was buried, and spoke with AlterNet in the same place Small was killed.
Having worked as an officer for three decades, Olivier can testify to racism within the police department, as well as Delrawn Small's character.
"I know Delrawn from the community. I know him through his brother... through people who were close to him. I know him from his reputation, positive reputation, and I know him from counseling."
Olivier is also a part-time actor and starred with Delrawn Small in the 2013 movie Zero In the System, directed by Tim McCann.
"He was a good actor... he had a good heart. He helped out a lot. He recruited a lot of people. He was a technical adviser...He tried to uplift people," Olivier said.
"I didn't really have too much of a good experience during my time as a corrections officer for 30 years," he admitted. "I dealt with a lot of direct racism and people with authority trying to [abuse] their power; a lot of selective enforcement, and a lot of it, I felt was because I was a black man. And basically my role was to make sure that my community was protected and that drove me to go to work every day. So I could make sure that the white supremacists didn't do what they wanted to do; just by presence alone," Olivier said.
Olivier did shoot someone on the job—an escaped prisoner—from which he continues to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I'm taking psychiatric medication to function on a daily basis and all I can do is remember the shooting," Olivier said. "That horrified me, just to shoot somebody, just the nightmares that come along with it."
In response to Officer Issac's alleged act of road rage murder, Olivier was stunned. "How could anybody pull out a gun and shoot somebody, especially an officer, with his training?" the retired corrections officer asked. "He's supposed to be cool under pressure."