Woodside brothers criminally charged with assaulting off-duty NYPD officer in road rage dispute: DA

Shawn (l.) and Edwin Rivera were arraigned on Sept. 1 in Queens Criminal Court on charges of first-degree assault and strangulation in an attack on an off-duty cop during a road rage dispute on Queens Boulevard on Wednesday, Aug. 30. 
Photos by Dean Moses

Two Woodside brothers were arraigned Friday in Queens Criminal Court on charges of first-degree assault and strangulation in an attack on an off-duty cop during a road rage dispute on Queens Boulevard on Wednesday, Aug. 30.

Shawn Rivera, 27, and Edwin Rivera, 32, both of 79th Street in Woodside, were charged with assault in the first degree, assault on a peace or police officer, two counts of attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, three counts of assault in the second degree and strangulation in the second degree.

Shawn Rivera was led out of the 108th Precinct in Long Island City after he was booked for assaulting an off-duty cop in Woodside.Photo by Dean Moses
Officers from the 108th Precinct escorted Edwin Rivera after he was booked in the road rage attack on Queens Boulevard. Photo by Dean Moses

Shawn Rivera was additionally charged with criminal mischief in the third degree, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

According to the charges, on Aug. 30 at around 12:50 p.m., off-duty NYPD Officer Christopher Campos drove his car on 70th Street towards Queens Boulevard around a white Chrysler Pacifica that was partially parked on the sidewalk and partially blocking the street. As he drove by, the Pacifica accelerated toward his car, nearly hitting it. Campos continued driving along 70th Street, into the intersection with Queens Boulevard, when he heard what sounded like something hit the rear of his car. Campos stopped and reversed his car in the intersection, in the direction of the Chrysler Pacifica to see what had happened.

He then saw Shawn Rivera run toward his car. Shawn Rivera then punched the back window of the car, shattering the glass, according to the charges. Campos got out of his car and identified himself as a police officer while drawing his firearm. He gave multiple commands to Shawn Rivera to get on the ground so he could arrest him.

The shot-out rear window where an off-duty officer was shot in Queens on Aug. 30. Photo by Dean Moses

While Campos was attempting to place Shawn Rivera under arrest, Edwin Rivera intervened and the brothers pushed the officer to the ground to prevent him from making the arrest, the charges allege. Edwin Rivera then put his arms around Campos’ neck and squeezed, causing the officer to fall to the ground. As Campos tried to stand up, the brothers grabbed him and pushed him, preventing him from getting up. Edwin Rivera tried to take Campos’ gun while Shawn Rivera put his arm around the officer’s neck and squeezed, causing Campos to see black and white, have trouble breathing and begin to lose consciousness.

During the struggle, and while Edwin Rivera tried to take his gun, Campos fired one round, striking himself in the leg and hitting Edwin Rivera’s hand.

Campos, a five-year veteran of the NYPD assigned to the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn, was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he underwent surgery to his knee. He was released from Elmhurst Hospital Friday evening and transported to a rehabilitation center to continue his recovery.

Officers remove evidence from the scene. Photo by Dean Moses

“We will not allow our streets to devolve into the Wild West,” Katz said. “The rule of law and the officers who enforce it must be respected. After clearly identifying himself as a police officer, this off-duty cop was attacked while trying to make an arrest and the charges reflect the seriousness of the assault against him.”

Judge Anthony Battisti remanded the Rivera brothers and ordered them to return to court on September 5. If convicted, they each face up to 25 years in prison.