Press Release


brown_kassun sentencing crash

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that Kassun Brown was sentenced today to up to 12 years in prison for speeding through a stop sign while drunk and crashing into a car driven by an off-duty NYPD officer, Michael Ellis, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and broken neck in the collision and later died from his injuries.

District Attorney Katz said: “The defendant’s reckless disregard for the rules of the road and the safety of his fellow motorists cost a young police officer his life. Nothing will undo the tragedy, but we hope today’s sentence provides a measure of comfort to Officer Ellis’ loved ones.”

Brown, 32, of Nellis Street in Springfield Gardens, pleaded guilty in November to manslaughter in the second degree and was sentenced today by Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise to an indeterminate term of six to 12 years in prison.

Brown is currently serving a 12-and-a-half-year prison sentence for a separate conviction in a drug possession case.

According to the charges:

  • Video surveillance footage from January 17, 2020, shows that, at approximately 11:58 p.m., Brown sped past a stop sign in his 2006 Nissan Maxima at the intersection of Nashville Boulevard and Lucas Street in St. Albans.
  • Brown’s vehicle barreled into 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 Career Criminal Major Crimes Bureau, prosecuted the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Mark Osnowitz, Chief of Felony Trials Bureau II, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Supreme Court Trials Pishoy Yacoub.

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