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A routine traffic stop in New York City turned into a nightmare for officers Saturday morning when the suspect, later identified as a 44-year-old Connecticut black man named Lionel Virgile, attacked them two times in a row.
Just before 8:00 am that morning, officers in Brooklyn spotted Virgile running a red light in his 2000 Lincoln Town Car, according to Connecticut station WTNH.
They then proceeded to pull him over and approach his front door to speak with him, but from the get-go, something seemed off.
Watch the initial interaction below:
Today, a vehicle stop for running a red light proved once again that no traffic enforcement is “routine.” When approached, the driver doused a cop with a chemical before fleeing, tossing a Molotov cocktail — and finally being arrested. Fortunately, our officers weren’t injured. pic.twitter.com/WBDt89b7F6
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 17, 2021
“Do you have your licence and registration with you today?” the officer on the driver’s side asked after Virgile rolled down his window.
“Naw,” the Connecticut man pithily replied.
He then began rummaging through his belongings and fumbling with his doorknob.
This led to the officer asking, “Why you getting out for?”
Virgile replied by saying something about his wallet.
“You can open the door if you want,” the officer replied.
That’s when Virgile popped open his door and suddenly flung what was later identified as a “chemical” at the officer.
“Oh s–t! Oh s–t!” the officer shrieked as he backed away from the vehicle.
Virgile then reportedly sped off, only to be pulled over by another set of officers nearby.
“Police said Virgile stepped out of his vehicle at the second traffic stop and threw a lit Molotov cocktail at their vehicle. It allegedly bounced off the windshield and shattered in the street,” according to NYC station WNBC.
When cops in Brooklyn stopped a car this AM for running a red light, the driver threw a chemical at our officer before speeding off. Stopped again, the driver threw a lit Molotov cocktail at cops & fled before crashing. The man was arrested & more Molotov cocktails were recovered pic.twitter.com/gQPrADEKJI
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 17, 2021
He then reportedly jumped back in his vehicle and tried to flee again, except this time he “collided with an unoccupied parked SUV on Snyder Avenue,” according to WNBC.
“Officers caught up to the man and removed him from the vehicle, taking him into custody. Three other Molotov cocktails were recovered from inside the driver’s vehicle, police said,” the station reported.
Watch WNBC’s report below:
The case is now reportedly being investigated not only by the NYPD but also by a U.S. attorney and the FBI. According to four law enforcement sources who spoke with WNBC, Virgile could potentially face “weapons of mass destruction” charges and even an “attempted murder of a police officer” charge.
A federal charge is reportedly preferred, according to the sources, “because it carries a 20-year penalty if convicted and likelihood of no bail as federal judges can consider danger to community when deciding on bail,” as reported by WNBC.
As of Sunday morning, the authorities were also reportedly waiting for a federal search warrant for Virgile vehicle.
“There are unknown writings and drawings on the ceiling of the vehicle, the sources,” WNBC reported.
What happened in Brooklyn on Saturday underscores the great danger police officers place themselves in every time they clock in for work.
Earlier this week we said that again after graffiti that proclaimed ”kill cops”
This morning..a Molotov cocktail thrown at an occupied marked police car
Now more than ever is the time to come together, to move forward together
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) April 17, 2021
It’s a danger that many seem to not appreciate in this day and age where dangerous, violent criminals are so often martyred.
Just a week earlier, a violent black criminal suspect with an open warrant related to an armed robbery attempt — one that had involved him choking and robbing a woman at gunpoint — was effectively martyred after he was fatally shot while resisting arrest.
Meanwhile, another criminal suspect — this one admittedly a 13-year-old Hispanic child — was effectively martyred after bodycam footage of him being fatally shot while resisting arrest was released publicly. And this despite known evidence pointing to his fatal shooting having been completely justified.
CNN’s law enforcement analyst, Chicago police union chief say cop shooting of Adam Toledo justified https://t.co/WXffAQqeNQ
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) April 16, 2021
Cases such as the two above have led many in the public to believe that the cops purposefully kill criminal suspects who are minorities — and that being being pulled over as a minority is essentially a death sentence.
Yet ironically, what happened to Virgile, who remains perfectly alive, seems to easily disprove that narrative …
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