NYPD Officer Josue Kavanagh claims fellow cops threw a lit firecracker at him in Brooklyn’s 83rd Precinct locker room for writing tickets to motorists who showed PBA cards. (Todd Maisel/New York Daily News)
NYPD Officer Josue Kavanagh was getting blasted on both ends.
On one front, his supervisors at Brooklyn’s 83rd Precinct gave him a quota — ordering him to write eight summonses in Bushwick a day.
On the other were his so-called brothers in blue, who threw a lit firecracker at him in the precinct locker room for writing tickets to motorists who flash courtesy cards from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.
“It almost blew my ears off,” Kavanagh, 35, said Thursday.
Kavanagh was off-duty, retrieving his notes from his locker on Dec. 31 as he prepared for a future summons court appearance, when the firecracker exploded next to him, according to a notice of claim filed by his attorney Eric Sanders.
“I heard a loud bang and saw a spark right next to me,” he remembered. “I looked to my right and there’s a cop about 40 feet away. He tossed it at me. It didn’t just accidentally land next to me.”
There was also another cop nearby — recording with his cell phone, he said.
“He was laughing,” he said.
The officers, who he didn’t know, told him it was a prank, but Kavanagh took it as another warning.
Months earlier, the precinct’s PBA delegate and other officers began harassing him for writing summonses to people flashing PBA cards, which are doled out to cops’ families and friends.
Kavanagh, who worked a summons detail, initially respected the PBA cards, but then he kept seeing people flashing fake ones.
“Some weren’t legit,” he said.
At the same time, his supervisors were pressuring him to write eight summonses a day — a directive that completely contradicts Police Commissioner James O’Neill’s current “no quota” policy.
“He’s not supposed to do it, but my supervisor clearly told me the captain wanted a minimum of eight summonses a day,” the 10-year veteran said.
“My hands were tied. I figured, this is Vision Zero. A lot of people are being struck by cars. People are breaking the law and not paying for it because of the cards, so I issued them summonses.”
When he did so, the precinct’s PBA delegate wouldn’t give him his PBA cards, which he paid for. Then outraged cops told Kavanagh they were going to give motorists he ticketed his personal phone number and home address so they could confront him when he’s off duty.
Kavanagh suffered tinnitus — ringing in in the ears — from the mini-explosion and still gets migraines at night, he said.
He’s seeking $5 million in damages, according to the notice of claim.
After an investigation that included Patrol Borough Brooklyn North Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, Kavanagh was transferred out of the 83rd Precinct and is now working in Queens. But the whole ordeal has taken its toll, he said.
“When I joined the NYPD, my passion for the job was at an all-time high,” he said. “Now I don’t want to go into work.”
During the investigation, Maddrey failed to establish a crime scene in the locker room when he was told what had happened and tried to “coverup” the crime, the lawsuit says.
Sanders is also representing Tabatha Foster, who is suing Maddrey for allegedly engaging in a seven year affair with her while she was his subordinate. Sanders hopes everyone in this case, including Maddrey, gets punished for Kavanagh’s injuries.
“Obviously, these ‘officers’ are unfit to serve the citizens and need to be terminated,” Sanders said about the officers who threw the firecracker. “The larger question is: When is the Police Commissioner going to get rid of Assistant Chief Maddrey? This is yet another incident of serious misconduct related to him.”
The NYPD did not return an email requesting comment. City attorneys were reviewing the notice of claim, a spokesman for the city Law Department said.