BROTHERS CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING OFF-DUTY OFFICER AND ATTEMPTING TO WREST FIREARM FROM HIM
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that Shawn Rivera and Edwin Rivera were arraigned today on charges of first-degree assault and strangulation in an attack on an off-duty police officer after a traffic dispute near Queens Boulevard and 70th Street in Elmhurst.
District Attorney Katz said: “We will not allow our streets to devolve into the Wild West. The rule of law and the officers who enforce it must be respected. After clearly identifying himself as a police officer, this off-duty cop was attacked while trying to make an arrest and the charges reflect the seriousness of the assault against him.”
Shawn Rivera, 27, and Edwin Rivera, 32, both of 70th Street in Woodside, were charged with assault in the first degree, assault on a peace or police officer, two counts of attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, three counts of assault in the second degree and strangulation in the second degree. Shawn Rivera was additionally charged with criminal mischief in the third degree. Judge Anthony Battisti ordered them to return to court September 5. If convicted, they each face up to 25 years in prison.
According to the charges:
- On August 30, at approximately 12:50 p.m., off-duty NYPD Officer Christopher Campos drove his car on 70th Street towards Queens Boulevard around a white Chrysler Pacifica that was partially parked on the sidewalk and partially blocking the street. As he drove by, the Pacifica accelerated toward his car, nearly hitting it.
- Campos continued driving along 70th Street, into the intersection with Queens Blvd., when he heard what sounded like something hit the rear of his car. Campos stopped and reversed his car in the intersection, in the direction of the Chrysler Pacifica to see what had happened.
- He then saw Shawn Rivera run toward his car. Shawn Rivera then punched the back window of the car, shattering the glass.
- Campos got out of his car and identified himself as a police officer while drawing his firearm. He gave multiple commands to Shawn Rivera to get on the ground so he could arrest him.
- While Campos was attempting to place Shawn Rivera under arrest, Edwin Rivera intervened and the brothers pushed the officer to the ground to prevent him from making the arrest. Edwin Rivera then put his arms around Campos’ neck and squeezed, causing the officer to fall to the ground.
- As Campos tried to stand up, the brothers grabbed him and pushed him, preventing him from getting up. Edwin Rivera tried to take Campos’ gun while Shawn Rivera put his arm around the officer’s neck and squeezed, causing Campos to see black and white, have trouble breathing and begin to lose consciousness.
- During the struggle, and while Edwin Rivera tried to take his gun, Campos fired one round, striking himself in the leg and also hitting Edwin Rivera’s hand.
- Campos was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he underwent surgery to his knee.
Assistant District Attorney Eric Weinstein, of the District Attorney’s Career Criminal Major Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Michael Whitney, Bureau Chief, and Roni C. Piplani, Deputy Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney of Major Crimes Shawn Clark.
**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.