Police Officer Christopher Rivera has been knocked out — of the NYPD.
The one-time NYPD highway cop who lodged department charges against a detective who challenged him to a department-authorized boxing match known as a “smoker” has been “dismissed from the department,” the Daily News has learned.
Rivera, 36, was assigned to the Brooklyn Court Section when his termination papers came through, effective April 5. He had been with the department for 11 years.
In 2017, Rivera was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend during National Police Week in Washington, D.C. The NYPD charged him with assaulting someone while off duty, and for being unfit for duty after “consuming an intoxicant.”
After a departmental trial, he was forced to forfeit 30 vacation days and was put on dismissal probation, meaning that if he got into trouble again, he would be fired.
A year earlier, he lodged a complaint against NYPD Detective David Terrell after the Bronx investigator had challenged him to a boxing match.
Terrell was pulled over by Rivera for failing to move over for an emergency vehicle near Bronx Criminal Court on May 2, 2016. Sources with knowledge of the case said that Rivera cursed at Terrell as the two had words during the car stop.
A few hours later, the two ran into each other again, and Terrell recommended they settle their differences at the next “smoker” — a grudge match hosted by the department’s boxing team. Rivera reported the detective to the Internal Affairs Bureau, saying Terrell threatened his life.
Terrell was found guilty of arguing and being discourteous to a fellow officer, and received the exact same penalty that Rivera did for assaulting his girlfriend: one-year dismissal probation and a loss of 30 vacation days.
Critics charge that the heavy-handed penalty against Terrell is just another example of the uneven punishments handed out to officers after department disciplinary hearings in Police Headquarters.
The department is rejiggering its disciplinary procedures after a panel of two former prosecutors and a former judge tasked with reviewing the process found that proceedings need to be more transparent.
The NYPD gave scant details about why Rivera was dismissed. Paperwork acquired by the Daily News simply states he was given the boot “pursuant to the powers vested by the police commissioner.”
Police sources said he was already on dismissal probation, and he was charged with failing to remain at the scene after being involved in a motor vehicle collision, failing to prepare a report of a motor vehicle accident after striking another, and making misleading statements during an interview with NYPD investigators.
The department routinely denies divulging disciplinary findings, citing Section 50-A of the state’s Civil Rights Law that prevents the public release of information about police disciplinary actions unless ordered by a judge. Calls to Rivera for comment were also not returned. Terrell’s attorney Eric Sanders also said Rivera was dismissed after making false statements following a motor vehicle accident.
“We knew about the false statements that led to his termination before Terrell’s departmental trial, but we were denied access under the department’s interpretation of 50-A,” Sanders said. “Now that another department dirty little secret is out, it’s time for the police commissioner to reverse the findings against Terrell as they relate to Rivera’s false testimony and dismiss all charges forthwith.”
Terrell has been sued multiple times on allegations of making false arrests and roughing people up after he was accused of threatening a victim into naming teenager Pedro Hernandez as a suspect in a 2015 shooting.
Hernandez — who spent more than a year at Rikers Island on an unrelated gun charge because he was unable to pay $100,000 bail — became a poster boy for bail reform as a result.