A dumb, drunken dispute over a phone charger prompted a short-tempered NYPD sergeant to shoot a romantic rival in the face last year, according to a new lawsuit.
Thavone Santana’s lawsuit said the near-deadly confrontation with NYPD Sgt. Ritchard Blake began Aug. 2 in Brooklyn, when the mother of Blake’s children, Debbie, borrowed Santana’s phone charger.
Shortly after 4 a.m., Santana — who’d been playing video games in an apartment across the hall from Debbie’s apartment in Brownsville — went to retrieve his charger from her, the lawsuit says.
Blake answered the door, “appeared inebriated” and “began cursing and screaming,” according to the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Santana — who was then 21 years old — decided to leave the building to buy a new phone charger. He did not realize that Blake, who was headed out to begin his NYPD shift, trailed him out of the building, the suit says.
Blake barked at Santana to stay away from Debbie. The confrontation escalated, and Blake shot his gun twice, striking Santana once in the chin.
Video of the shooting appears to show Blake planting evidence — “knives” — on Santana as he lay wounded, the lawsuit says.
But Blake noticed there was a surveillance camera possibly recording his moves — so he took the knives back, says the suit.
The NYPD fired Blake last year.
Santana’s suit alleged that Blake had a checkered record as a cop, including reprimands for impeding an investigation and assault. The suit says Blake was at one point placed on probation for beating his girlfriend.
Santana’s mouth remains wired shut, and bullet is still lodged in his neck near his spine. He still receives most food through a feeding tube.
Santana and his mother are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed against the city. They argue the NYPD should not have allowed Blake to carry a firearm.
Blake has not been charged in connection with the shooting. Prosecutors promised a ”thorough” investigation.
“I believe that the DA would have a difficult time proving any criminal charges against Mr. Blake,” said Abe George, the former officer’s lawyer.
George said Santana is a gang member whose version of events can not be believed.
“It’s tragic that Mr. Santana was shot and injured but unfortunately it was this known gang member’s own menacing actions of chasing Mr. Blake in the middle of the night and motioning as if he had a gun in his pocket that caused Mr. Santana to be shot,” George said. He said Blake fired his weapon in self-defense.