NEW YORK – An off-duty New York City police officer reportedly hired a Brooklyn prostitute who ended the night by stealing his personal car and service weapon when he stopped at an ATM to pay her, reports say.
Officer Ali Sheppard, a 13-year NYPD veteran, was driving his 2015 Jeep Wrangler when he hired Taquanna Lawton at around 12:15 a.m. Tuesday, sources told the New York Post.
The two were on their way to a motel in East New York. However, before the supposed rendezvous, Sheppard, 38, stopped at an ATM to withdraw cash. Lawton, 20, reportedly used the opportunity to jump into the driver’s seat of the Jeep and take off. Consequently, Sheppard’s service weapon was still in the driver’s area of the vehicle.
Lawton was arrested several hours later. The vehicle and firearm were recovered Wednesday in East New York, sources told the New York Daily News.
Lawton will face criminal charges and Sheppard was suspended. It’s unclear if he will face with any charges.
“He’ll be facing some disciplinary action,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said at an unrelated press conference on Wednesday. “We are working on the investigation.”
Sheppard’s father, Eugene Sheppard, told the Daily News that he was surprised to hear of the allegations, saying his son had never been in any trouble.
“I’ve never heard that he would pick up a prostitute,” he said. “I’m in shock, actually. This is a child that I raised by myself as a single parent and I’ve never known anything like this to happen, ever. He’s a good kid.”
Neighbors agreed with the dad’s assessment of Sheppard.
“(Sheppard is) a soft-spoken, stay-to-himself type of person,” said neighbor Jeff Smith, who has known the cop since he was a child. “He’s always worked. First military and then when he became a cop.”
“I’ve never known Ali to deal with people like that in the street,” added Smith, 62. “Ali’s always to himself. Whenever I see him he’s going to work or coming home from work.”
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