On March 8th my life changed forever. I now carry physical and emotional scars that will never go away. I continue to feel the pain of 2 broken wrists, of which the right required surgery that has not healed well enough for me to return to work as a full duty police officer.
On that date, Jaheem Funderburke chose to interrupt a lawful investigation and chose to pull his car away from my partner and I by suddenly driving in reverse, and then, rather than continuing in that direction away from us, made the decision to put the car back into drive as I stood in the middle of the street, and try to run me down. As I dove sideways attempting to preserve my life, parallel to the ground and in the air, he steered his car further toward me, striking me in the hip and throwing my body 10 feet into a driveway apron, where after crash landing I came to a skidding stop. He struck my body so violently, that the car literally ripped a portion of my pants off my body…. He and his friends would later hold up this piece of fabric torn from my body in a video on social media, mocking me while laughing about it. Clearly there was no remorse for his actions.
So he then fled the scene after striking me, led my fellow officers on a pursuit that exceeded 100mph, endangering countless police and civilian lives in the process. He got away that night, but thanks to the on-scene investigative skills of my partner and great friend Police Officer Vincent Inzirillo, detectives were able to eventually capture him the next day after he had a rear-end motor vehicle crash in which he seriously injured another person, fled that scene, and was located a short while later by Police K-9 dogs while hiding in the woods.
Empathy, compassion, concern, remorse for his damaging actions do not appear to be qualities the defendant possesses. If this court is in possession of documents that speak to the defendant’s lack of remorse and sorrow, I urge that they are considered in the final sentencing decision.
And yet, it is my true and sincere hope Jaheem, that during your time of incarceration you do eventually change and evolve and come to regret your actions… not because you got caught, but because you understand they were wrong, and more importantly because you understand and care about the impact they have had on the people you hurt. Only then will you have any chance to come out of jail with the hope of being useful, productive, and able to have positive impacts on people’s lives. Please think about that.
While I don’t wish to politicize this in any way, it would be irresponsible for me not to state that there is a dire need for legislative change to the NY State Penal law with respect to crimes against Law Enforcement officers. This lack of additional protection for those charged with protecting everyone only serves to put law-abiding civilians and police officer’s alike at additional risk. But again, with admiration and great respect for this court, I do not want to politicize this sentencing.
So Lastly, I would just like to thank the Court and Judge Camacho, my wife Mia for all of her support, especially early on when it was most difficult, my parents, siblings and additional family and friends for all of their support through this difficult 9 months. I would like to thank the Suffolk County DA’s office, in particular, Bureau Chief Brenden Ahern and Assistant District Attorney Ray Varulo, the Suffolk County PBABoard and the support of all the Police Officers of the 3rd Precinct and all SCPD Commands, and especially all of the Blue Lives standing behind me, your lives, most definitely, matter to me.
Thank you very much.