Det. Patrick Cherry, a member of the elite Joint Terrorism Task Force who was formerly assigned to the NYPD's Arson and Explosives Unit, blew up at the driver when the cabby honked at him for attempting to park on the West Side Highway without signaling, according to statements made in a video of the incident.
Cherry won't be fired because verbal abuse of a civilian is not considered a fireable offense, sources said.
In the video, recorded by a passenger and uploaded to YouTube on Monday, Cherry berates the driver and demands to know how long the driver, who speaks with an accent, has been in the United States.
But Cherry claimed he saw only red after the driver drove up close behind his slow-moving car while he was cruising for a parking spot, then swerved around him, flipped him the bird, and mouthed "f— you, " sources close to the detective said.
That's when Cherry flipped on his lights and sirens, and pulled him over, sources said.
Uber spokesman Matt Wing declined to respond to the accusations or make the driver available for an interview.
The passenger who recorded the video, Sanjay Seth, was expected to speak with investigators at the Civilian Complaint Review Board Wednesday afternoon, sources said. Seth did not immediately return a voicemail seeking comment, and attempts to reach him through intermediaries were unsuccessful.
If the CCRB finds that the complaint against Cherry is valid, the detective will receive a permanent mark on his record. While he won't be dismissed, Cherry could face other punishment including loss of pay and vacation days.
This would not be the first complaint against Cherry for verbal abuse, sources said.
The detective, who has about 15 years on the force, has had about 10 complaints against him, some of which involve verbally abusing civilians, sources familiar with his record said.
The outcome of those complaints is unknown.
Cherry was also at one point hauled before a judge over a complaint regarding an arrest, but he was acquitted in a departmental trial, sources said.
Even if Cherry goes before a CCRB judge for the incident with the Uber driver, and the judge finds him guilty of misconduct, the judge's decision is sent to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who can accept or reject the judge's finding, sources said.
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