NYPD sergeant from Putnam County charged with manslaughter for throwing cooler at Bronx man, police say
An NYPD police sergeant from Putnam County who hurled a plastic cooler at a man fleeing officers on a motorcycle, causing a crash that killed the rider, was charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and assault.
Erik Duran pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday in the Bronx and made bail, which was set at $150,000. Dozens of police officers came to court in his support.
Duran, 37, was suspended shortly after the incident and later placed on modified duty.
The indictment was announced by state Attorney General Letitia James’ office, which investigates all deaths at the hands of police officers.
Messages seeking comment were left with Duran’s union and his defense attorney.
Motorcyclist Eric Duprey, 30, was pronounced dead within minutes of being struck on a Bronx sidewalk last August. Police said Duprey had tried to flee on a friend’s motorcycle after he was caught selling drugs to an undercover police officer.
Duran had been standing on the sidewalk as part of the “buy-and-bust” operation carried out by the Bronx Narcotics Unit.
Surveillance video showed Duprey driving the motorcycle on a sidewalk toward a group of people, including the sergeant, who was not in uniform. As he approached, the video shows Duran pick up the red picnic cooler and throw it. Duprey is struck, loses control, and is tossed toward a tree as the motorcycle veers into the street. The bike smashes into a metal barricade before coming to rest against a parked car.
Duprey had three young children and worked as a delivery driver.
Duran, a 13-year veteran of the department, joined the Bronx Narcotics Unit in 2022. He has been recognized by the department dozens of times for what it deems excellent and meritorious police service, according to a police personnel database.
Duran’s disciplinary record includes a substantiated complaint in 2022 for abusing his authority during a stop, according to the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board.
Duran's next court date is April 18.