New York City police officer fatally struck by car while directing traffic
Police Officer Anastasio Tsakos was working at the scene of a previous crash when he was struck by an allegedly drunk driver who had a suspended license
The suspected drunk driver charged with striking and killing a New York City police officer made “demonizing” comments about local law enforcement on a podcast she recorded prior to the fatal accident, the leader of a prominent officers’ union says.
Pat Lynch, the head of the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, made the remark Tuesday night following the arraignment of 32-year-old Jessica Beauvais, who has been ordered held without bail in connection to the death of NYPD Officer Anastasios Tsakos earlier that morning. Prior to allegedly striking Tsakos on a highway in Queens, Beauvais recorded a podcast Monday night in which she said “f— the police” and criticized officer-involved shootings.
An NYPD spokesperson told Fox News that so far police have not found any connection between the comments Beauvais made on her podcast and the alleged crimes, but it is “still being investigated.”
“We lost a life today because of choices made by a person that spent the night before demonizing New York City police officers on a podcast,” Lynch said, mentioning how Beauvais “fled the police” after striking Tsakos and “ran as fast as she could” before being taken into custody.
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“The professionalism of our fellow police officers stopped her and stopped any other mayhem,” Lynch added. “The reality is, we now have a family that is devastated, that will never be put back together.”
Tsakos, the father of a 6-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son, was diverting traffic away from a fatal accident on a freeway in Queens just before 2 a.m. Tuesday when a vehicle veered and he was struck “head-on” by a 2013 Volkswagen, police said.
He was taken to a local hospital where he died, while Beauvais’ blood alcohol level was found to be 0.159%, above the legal limit of 0.08%, police said.
Jessica Beauvais faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the charges she now faces in the wake of NYPD Officer Anastasios Tsakos’s death.
During the podcast Monday night, Beauvais was seen vaping and drinking from a small red cup.
She later told police she first had two glasses of wine and dropped her 13-year-old child off in Hempstead, then smoked marijuana before bringing a bottle of wine into a studio in Brooklyn for her broadcast and drinking two shots of tequila, according to a criminal complaint presented in Queens Criminal Court Tuesday night, the New York Daily News and ABC7 reported.
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The podcast, which lasted for nearly two hours on Facebook Live, began with a segment about the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted in the death of George Floyd.
“This week we are going to talk about the ignorance that was the Derek Chauvin trial or the ignorance that is essentially just is this (expletive) justice system,” Beauvais said.
She went on to criticize police shootings and arguments used to justify police shootings.
“Why do you need a weapon to do your job?” she asks. “If you were afraid for your life, go be a secretary at Walmart. Do us all the favor. Go open up a daycare. But please stop hitting us with the (expletive) excuse that you felt threatened about something.”
At the end of the show, Beauvais signed off by saying “I’ll see you guys next Monday… and until then f— the police. F— ’em.”
Tsakos had responded to assist at the scene of a fatal automobile collision on the Long Island Expressway when he was struck by Beauvais, police say. He was redirecting traffic when a 2013 Volkswagen allegedly driven by her swerved to avoid other cars and hit Officer Tsakos as he stood next to his marked patrol vehicle.
The NYPD, when asked Wednesday morning for reaction about the comments Beauvais made on the podcast, did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News.
Beauvais now faces a slew of charges, including two counts of vehicular manslaughter, reckless endangerment, leaving an accident resulting in death and driving while intoxicated.
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At one point, as police surrounded Beauvais, she tried to escape by backing her vehicle twice into a police car behind her, a criminal complaint said, according to the New York Post.
Prosecutors say if she is convicted on the charges, she faces up to 15 years in prison, the newspaper adds.
Beauvais also was driving on a suspended driver’s license at the time of the crash, police said. In total, her license has been suspended 14 times and she has been cited for multiple driving violations, authorities said.
Following her arrest, Beauvais apologized for the 43-year-old officer’s death as she was being led out of the 107th Precinct in Queens.
“I am sorry that I hit him and that he’s dead,” she sobbed. “I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry!”
When asked what she wanted to tell his family, an emotional Beauvais said: “I didn’t mean to, I’m sorry.” She was then asked by reporters where she was coming from before the crash.
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“I was coming from the studio,” as the doors to a police vehicle were being closed. “I do a podcast.”
Her next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.
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