Rookie NYPD cop Nicholas Batka was a drinker, and proud of it.
Batka’s Facebook page features more than a half-dozen photos of him posing with beer and booze. One of them, from 2013, shows him leaning over eight shots of booze, with the quip: “And all for me ;p.” He added: “it deff was a night to celebrate.”
A picture with the profile says: “Just because it’s a bad idea doesn’t mean it’s not going to be a good time.”
It’s all fun until it isn’t. The fun stopped when Batka, totally wasted, drove his SUV onto the sidewalk and hit four people, one of whom was a 21-year-old MIT student, Andrew Esquivel, in New York for a summer job. Batka killed him.
Andrew Esquivel was walking home when he was fatally struck and three others were injured by Officer Nicholas Batka’s runaway SUV on a Williamsburg sidewalk at shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday.
Much of what follows is a fairly pedestrian tale of what happens when cops are the criminals.
Batka refused to take a Breathalyzer, but a blood sample was obtained when he was brought to Weill Cornell for an examination. He was released to cops who busted him for crimes including manslaughter.
He was arraigned early Sunday in Brooklyn night court, where Judge Sharon Hudson set bail at $300,000.
He tried to change seats so he could feign not being the driver, to get away. Witnesses stopped him. He didn’t even realize that he killed anyone, but he did have his cop-wits about him sufficiently to refuse a breathalyzer.
But what came before the crime matters.
The carnage took place on Bedford Avenue near North Eighth Street, a block crowded with people enjoying the neighborhood’s vibrant bar scene.
One of the revelers was Batka, who had been drinking with other cops at a nearby bar, according to sources, who said he had a bar receipt in his pocket.
My emphasis. And Batka was a cop who loved to drink.
Batka, a former correction officer, has a history of drinking, a former jail colleague said Sunday.
“He’s a nice guy but loves to drink,” the old co-worker said.
Hey, everybody is a “nice guy” until they kill someone. By co-worker, that means cop. Cops drinking with Batka in the bar. Cops who knew Batka was a drinker. Then, this wasted cop got into his Dodge Durango and killed Andrew Esquivel and injured three others. Up until then, it was a good time for Batka and his brothers.
One could point out the rank hypocrisy of the same people who will arrest you enabling one of their own to do the same thing. Hell, there’s a good chance they were doing the same thing themselves, but kismet got them home without killing anyone. But that’s the difference between them and you.
Hell, they can’t even come up with a lie to cover their asses. There is nothing here, no claim of fear, no rap sheet to whip out to prove that the dead kid isn’t a sufficiently worthy human being to get all bent out of shape about. Nothing.
Batka will be prosecuted for what he did, but what of the cops in the bar who drank with him, who had a good time getting shitfaced with their buddies? Who waved good-bye to their comrade as he drove off in his SUV?
What of the cops who knew him to be a drinker? What of his co-workers before he went to John Jay cop school, joined the NYPD, when he was a prison guard, who knew him to be a drunk? Was it all in good fun, nothing to get too excited about, until now? Was it a big joke until he killed a kid?
In public, cops speak in somber tones, very official, very serious, about the bad things people do. It all sounds very different when they’re hanging in a bar with each other, getting drunk and enjoying the camaraderie of fellow liars. New York’s Finest enabled some wasted cop to kill a young man and harm others. How proud you must be that you could have stopped Batka from getting into his SUV drunk and killing a kid, but you would never challenge a brother officer who was just having a good time. Just like you.
The other cops whose lives cross Batka’s, who drank with him, who knew that he was out of control, won’t be charged. But they aided and abetted the death of Andrew Esquivel. Make no mistake about it.