A city police officer who falsely arrested a Staten Island man because of his race was sentenced Friday to nearly five years in prison. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
Michael Daragjati's family had nothing to say as they left court Friday, minutes after the former cop was sentenced to 57 months in prison.
His lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, said he got a bad deal.
"I think the sentence was unfair," Fischetti said. "I think that the judge didn't take into consideration all his good deeds."
Back in January, the eight-and-a-half year NYPD veteran pleaded guilty to threatening one man in a dispute over a snowblower and falsely arresting Kenrick Gray, a black man, last year after Gray complained about being stopped and frisked.
Daragjati was later caught on a wire tap using a racial slur and saying he had "fried" the man.
"I said a lot of stupid things and I made a bad judgment call," Daragjati said at his sentencing. "I'm sorry. I would hate me, too, if I saw the news and anyone that hates me, I don't blame them for it."
Daragjati wept as he spoke.
"It's very thin," said Brett Klein, Gray's attorney. "It's too little, too late."
Judge Kuntz seemed to agree. In his remarks, he compared Daragjati to the bad cop played by Denzel Washington in the movie Training Day and said the former officer embraced what he called the "anti-cop, Carlito way."
"You methodically destroyed your career," Kuntz told Daragjati. "You kicked it to pieces. You beat the shield of civic honor into a sword of personal criminal activity."
"What he did was offensive," said Eric Franz, another attorney for Daragjati. "But sometimes, things that are offensive don't necessarily have to rise to the highest magnitude of a criminal punishment."
Gray was held for two nights before being released, even though he did nothing wrong.
"Mr. Gray was denigrated as the court stated," Klein said. "He was basically described as trash, as someone who's not human."
As he was removed from the courtroom, Daragjati's friends and family cried and told him that they loved him.
It's unclear when they'll see him again. As a police officer, he's likely to serve out his sentence far away from home.