Press Release


Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that Kassun Brown pleaded guilty today to manslaughter for speeding through a stop sign in St. Albans and crashing into another vehicle, killing its driver, an off-duty NYPD officer, Michael Ellis.

District Attorney Katz said: “The defendant’s recklessness prematurely took the life of a young NYPD officer. We welcome the guilty plea and hope it will provide some solace to Officer Ellis’ loved ones.”

Brown, 32, of Nellis Street in Springfield Gardens, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the second degree. Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise indicated that he would sentence the defendant to an indeterminate term of six to 12 years in prison at sentencing on January 11, 2024.

According to the charges:

  • Video surveillance footage shows that on January 17, 2020, at approximately 11:58 p.m., Brown’s 2006 Nissan Maxima sped past a stop sign at the intersection of Nashville Boulevard and Lucas Street in St. Albans.
  • The car struck a Nissan Altima driven by off-duty officer Michael Ellis, who was traveling westbound on Lucas Street. Ellis’ car went into a clockwise spin before hitting two parked cars. Brown’s car veered into a telephone pole.
  • Ellis, who lived in St. Albans and worked at the 63rd Precinct in Brooklyn, was taken to a local hospital for treatment of a traumatic brain injury, a broken neck and facial fractures. He died February 27, the day of his 35th birthday.
  • At .09 percent, Brown’s blood alcohol content exceeded the maximum legal threshold of .08 percent.
  • Brown was taken to a local hospital after the collision for treatment of a dislocated right ankle. A passenger in Brown’s car was treated for a fractured femur.

Assistant District Attorney Hugh McCann, of the District Attorney’s Felony Trials Bureau II, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Mark Osnowitz, Bureau Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Supreme Court Trials Pishoy Yacoub.

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