Heroin addict allegedly drags NYPD cop with his car — and wins $11 million in court
A heroin addict with nearly 20 arrests to his name allegedly dragged a cop along a busy Bronx street while fleeing a traffic stop, forcing another lawman to shoot him — and a jury just handed him an $11 million payday, The Post has learned.
Raoul Lopez took the city to court over the harrowing 2006 run-in that left him partially paralyzed on his right side, and was awarded the eight-figure sum by a Bronx jury Tuesday.
Lopez, 27 when the encounter happened, was in the midst of “a two-week-long bender” and had just scored his latest fix on Feb. 1, 2006, when he rolled through a stop sign at East 169th Street and Grand Concourse, a city lawyer wrote in papers filed in the Bronx Supreme Court case.
Sgt. Philippe Blanchard and Officer Zinos Konstantinides pulled Lopez’s Honda to a stop shortly before noon and ordered him to kill the engine, but he refused to comply, according to the filings.
Instead, when Konstantinides reached inside the car to make a grab at the keys, Lopez hit the gas, dragging the cop into traffic along bustling Grand Concourse, the documents said.
Fearing “that his partner would be maimed or killed if he did not take immediate, forceful action,” Blanchard fired a single shot, striking Lopez in the neck, the city wrote in the papers.
The wound left Lopez in Lincoln Hospital with a litany of injuries detailed across two-and-a-half typed pages in his own lawyer’s filing, including partial paralysis to the right side of his body.
But Lopez fared better in court, ultimately winning an acquittal on a criminal assault charge, while Blanchard’s potentially life-saving action was deemed “not within department guidelines” in an internal NYPD review.
Lopez, according to police sources, has 19 lifetime arrests and, by his own admission in court, “about 13” convictions.
His attorney, Brett Klein, even requested of the jury $6 million to $9 million for lost earnings — despite Lopez not being employed at the time of the incident, according to the documents.
“Raoul Lopez was an unarmed motorist who was needlessly shot in the back of his neck during what the police described as a routine traffic stop,” said Klein in a statement. “We are grateful that a Bronx jury has held the City accountable for this wrongful shooting.”
Konstantinides, who has since retired from the NYPD, could not be reached for comment, while Blanchard, still on the job in the Bronx, referred questions to the department’s press office through a fellow cop.
The NYPD deferred comment to the city Law Department, which said the case may not be over just yet.
“The split-second response by an officer likely stopped this driver from dragging an officer to his death, a response we believe was justified under the circumstances,” said spokesman Nicholas Paolucci in a statement. “We strongly disagree with this verdict and are reviewing the city’s legal options.”
Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy, Tina Moore, Larry Celona, Joe Konig, Elizabeth Rosner and Aaron Feis