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Judge Sets $250,000 Bail for New York Police Officer Charged With Drunk Driving, Manslaughter

Aired August 10, 2001 - 09:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: And now the latest development on that New York police officer who's been accused of killing three members of the same family while allegedly driving drunk, that officer has now been arraigned.

Let's go to our Jason Carroll in New York City for the latest -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Daryn, that arraignment ended just a few moments ago, and we can tell you that judge -- the judge in this case decided to set bail for Officer Joseph Gray at $250,000. Now, you will recall, Daryn, earlier this week another judge had decided not to set bail for Officer Gray following the accident, that DWI accident involving that family in Brooklyn. And what happened today is the prosecutors argued that given the fact that Officer Gray was drinking, and in their words, had gone in a drinking binge, had acted irresponsibly, that bail should be set.

The prosecutors initially had asked for $500,000 bail. The defense then said that Officer -- Officer Gray did not present a risk of flight, that he has roots in the community of Staten Island, his parents live right -- right across the street from him. And they said that he would not be able to afford a $500,000 bail.

The judge in the end, Judge Neil Firetog, decided to set bail at $250,000. And with that, the bailiff came in and handcuffed Officer Gray and led him out of the courtroom.

His defense attorney says that his family, who showed up with him at court today -- his wife was there with him as well as his mother and his father, as well as his pastor -- everyone's going to get together to try to help him post bail at this point.

Obviously, the victims' family, many of them were in the courtroom as well. Many of them are here outside the courtroom protesting. We're still waiting to get their reaction as to what they think about this bail now being set -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Jason, one question for you about the charges here. Four members of the family died, including the newborn boy, but only -- the officer is only being charged with three. He's not being charged with the murder of the newborn. Why is that? CARROLL: Well, you know, Daryn, that sort of opens up a whole other issue, doesn't it, if you really think about it? Basically the coroner decided that since the baby could not live on his own, that -- for that reason, the prosecutors looking at that type of evidence decided not to press for four counts of manslaughter, but rather to go for three counts.

Now the family is very upset about that. Obviously, they say that Officer Gray should have been charged with four counts of manslaughter. But that just opens up a whole other can of worms in dealing with this case -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Another sensitive issue in New York City.

CARROLL: Yes.

KAGAN: Jason Carroll, thank you very much. I'm sure we'll be checking again with you in the next hour.

CARROLL: OK.

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