On Trial in Cop-Killing, ‘Bronx Tale’ Star Dims

Faces ‘Blue’ Jury as Well

Dec. 5, 2008

The Chief

By Tommy Hallissey

With his hands cuffed behind the back of his brown suit, Lillo Brancato walked into Bronx Supreme Court Nov. 25, the second day of his trial for the murder of an NYPD cop, and lifted his head long enough to see a dozen police officers seated in the courtroom, waiting to hear two of their colleagues testify against him.

A black female officer glared at the star of “A Bronx Tale,” her gaze never wavering, while other officers sat with arms folded against their chests. Some just squinted. All came from the 40th Precinct, where Daniel Enchautegui had worked before he was murdered on Dec. 10, 2005.

Famous Line Haunts Him Now

Mr. Brancato, who also played a small-time hood in “The Sopranos,” fidgeted in his chair. He looked sharp, with close-cropped black hair and an expensive suit, despite his day-old beard. Not that long ago, he could have been in front of a camera, saying lines like “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent,” as he did at the end of “A Bronx Tale,” except now the words are freighted with irony.

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For Port Authority Cops, A Sense of Loss Lingers

For the seventh anniversary of 9/11, The Chief took a look at a previously ignored group of victims: the Port Authority Police Department, which lost 37 members on 9/11, a proportionately high number of its limited ranks.

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A ‘Tough Gal’ Counted Out In Manhattan DA’s Race

Leslie Crocker Snyder ran for Manhattan District Attorney for the second time in 2009. Without the support of outgoing District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, Ms. Snyder faced an uphill battle against Cyrus Vance, Jr. in her likely final run for public office.

The Chief captured this profile after spending the day on the campaign trail and the evening at Judge Snyder’s election party at the Grand Hyatt. 

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Probation Union: Guns Deadly for Members

Four Probation Officer suicides in four years prompted the head of the United Probation Officers Association to question New York City Probation Commissioner Martin F. Horn’s decision to allow Probation Officers to carry weapons on the job.

The weapons, which were meant as a deterrent, had only been used in self-inflicted cases, union president Dominic Collucio told The Chief in August 2009. The suicides were said to be the result of stress from an increased workload. 

Before the new weapons policy, no Probation Officers committed suicide in the prior 31 years.

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New Cop Takes Her Spot In the Family Business

As New York City dealt with a budget crunch in 2010, the NYPD Academy graduated only 250 recruits for the second straight time. The class was so tiny the ceremony was held at the Beacon Theatre instead of the graduation’s usual haunt Madison Square Garden.

Profiled in this Jan. 8, 2010 article in The Chief is a New York lawyer who walked away from a legal career to follow in her mother’s footsteps by joining the NYPD. 

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Cops’ Kids Feel Residual Effects of Post-9/11 Work

Here’s The Chief’s October 23, 2009 take on the ceremonial addition of names to the Police Memorial Wall in Battery Park. This was the second year that members of service who died from 9/11-related illnesses were honored with a spot on the wall.

“Men and women of different ranks and commands united in a common mission to aid in the recovery effort,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said at the ceremony. “They brought closure to the loved one of those who were killed and restored order. But they too became casualties.”

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Rikers Fight Club

Two NYC Correction Officers were indicted in January 2009 for overseeing a criminal enterprise which operated inside Rikers Island and resulted in the murder of an 18-year-old inmate by fellow prisoners.

The 58-count indictment prompted The Village Voice to refer one of the Correction Department’s biggest scandals as Rikers Fight Club. Prosecutors accused Correction Officers of overseeing a criminal enterprise known as The Program run inside the hallowed jail by members of The Team, who brazenly broke the law behind bars.

Here’s how The Chief covered the story in a Jan. 30, 2009 article.

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