Police bodycam video shows a man throwing a liquid at an NYPD cop during a traffic stop in Brooklyn, New York. The New York Police Department also claimed the suspect hurled a Molotov cocktail at police officers during the tense confrontation on Saturday morning.
Law enforcement officials say that NYPD officers pulled over Lionel Virgile after he ran a red light just before 8 a.m. on Saturday. Officers approached the tinted-out 2000 Lincoln Town Car that Virgile was driving. The officer requested the man’s driver’s license and vehicle registration, but Virgile first said, “Nah.”
The man appeared to be looking for his identification on the driver’s side door, then swung open the door, and tossed a clear liquid at the officer. The bodycam video shows the officer retreat and he screams several expletives.
The NYPD says the liquid was a “chemical,” possibly bleach or peroxide.
(Content Warning: Explicit language):
Today, a vehicle stop for running a red light proved once again that no traffic enforcement is “routine.” When appr… https://t.co/j5vDx9tqcE
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPD NEWS)1618693106.0
Virgile, 44, reportedly then drove off. Police pursued him and, during the high-speed car chase, Virgile allegedly threw a lit Molotov cocktail at the cops. The NYPD did not include video of the Molotov cocktail attack or the pursuit. Virgile is said to have crashed into a parked vehicle during his attempted escape. Virgile was arrested.
When police inspected the vehicle they discovered three additional homemade Molotov cocktails.
When cops in Brooklyn stopped a car this AM for running a red light, the driver threw a chemical at our officer bef… https://t.co/HeJPCjOCCw
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPD NEWS)1618676828.0
Virgile, who is from Bridgeport, Connecticut, faces a federal charge of arson with injury, which carries a 7-to-40-year prison sentence. The Brooklyn district attorney may also file charges.
“Virgile is in federal custody and will appear virtually Monday before a federal judge sitting in Downtown Brooklyn,” WABC-TV reported.
Investigators are still attempting to determine if the man intentionally targeting police, and purposely ran the red light to get the attention of police. NYPD vehicles were attacked with Molotov cocktails last summer.
Virgile’s brother told WABC the suspect suffers from mental illness and had been living in his car. The brother said that Virgile had been taken into custody before the incident, but police released him.
NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea commented on the incident on Twitter.
“This is another reminder of how quickly a situation can change, & the dangers your cops face every day while they’re protecting NYers,” Shea said. “Even after arrest, the investigation into this attack remains active. And your NYPD cops will not relent in their mission to keep you safe.”
“Words matter Earlier this week we said that again after graffiti that proclaimed ‘kill cops.’ This morning..a Molotov cocktail thrown at an occupied marked police car,” Shea tweeted. “Now more than ever is the time to come together, to move forward together.”
One of the officers was taken to the hospital, and both officers were not seriously injured.
Driver Hurls Molotov Cocktail at Brooklyn Cops After Running Red Light: NYPD | NBC New York