Jun. 15, 2011
By DAREH GREGORIAN
The manslaughter conviction of a former cop in the shooting of an unarmed drunken driver in The Bronx was thrown out by an appeals court yesterday, and now he wants his job back.
A judge had found Rafael Lora guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the death of Fermin Arzu on the night of May 17, 2007, ruling that the off-duty cop "had acted with a reckless mental state."
Lora said he'd been in his home when he heard what sounded like a shotgun blast, and went outside with his gun drawn. He saw a minivan that had hit two parked cars, and approached the driver with his gun pointed at the ground.
He identified himself as a cop and asked the driver for his ID. The driver threw something at Lora's mouth -- chipping his tooth -- and then pulled away with Lora's arm trapped in the door.
Arzu refused the cop's demand to stop and the van started going faster, Lora said.
The officer, "fearing for his life, intentionally fired his weapon repeatedly in an effort to extricate himself, stopping when he was freed," the appeals ruling said.
The Appellate Division panel found by 3-1 that there was nothing reckless about Lora's actions.
He had been facing one to three years in prison, but served no time because he was out on bail during the appeal. He'll seek to get his job back, said his lawyer, Stu London.