DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN, NY (PIX11)—Less than a month after getting shot point blank in the head and surviving, an NYPD cop was in court Monday to face the man who he says tried to kill him. Detective Kevin Brennan walked into a courtroom at Brooklyn Supreme Court Monday to face Luis "Baby" Ortiz, the man whom Brennan says he last encountered when Ortiz wrestled with the cop in a stairwell at the the Bushwick Houses public housing project, and Ortiz shot him, right behind one of his ears.
When Ortiz walked into court, he did something he's become notorious for: blowing kisses. This time it was one kiss toward his family and supporters, who were surrounded by a courtroom full of cops -- there to support the beat cop who'd been promoted to detective after surviving the January 31st shooting.
This time, before Judge Albert Tomei in Supreme Court, when Ortiz tried to look toward his family, a court officer turned him toward the judge.
That gesture was less intense than the one coming from the courtroom's first row. That's where Detective Brennan kept his eyes locked on Ortiz throughout the eight-minute hearing. Ortiz's reaction was to turn away from Brennan's glare and face the far wall.
Meanwhile, Luis Ortiz's attorney, Eric Poulos, entered a plea of not guilty to the felony charges of attempted murder of a police officer, assault on a police officer, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing. Poulos also said to Judge Tomei during the arraignment, "My client's family brought him clothes to court, so he might look presentable, but he says the prison guards wouldn't allow it." Luis Ortiz was in his bright orange prison jumpsuit with his hands in cuffs behind his back for the entire hearing. The judge said that at the next hearing on April 16th, and all hearings afterward, Ortiz could wear civilian clothes.
The police union president, Pat Lynch, who was at court with about a hundred mostly plainclothes cops, was unimpressed with the defense's points before Judge Tomei. "The concern of the arrogance of this mope was what he'd wear into court," Lynch said, referring to Ortiz. "Personally, we feel orange suits him... If justice is served, he'll be wearing that orange jumpsuit for an awfully long time."
Ortiz's lawyer said he was simply trying to ensure that his client got the same treatment as any other defendant, most of whom are allowed to make their case while wearing a suit and tie. "That's all we ask," Poulos said, "That he not be treated any differently, and he is."
Neither Ortiz nor Detective Brennan spoke at court, but once Ortiz's trial begins, Brennan is expected to point out Ortiz as the man who tried to kill him.
There is also surveillance video from Bushwick Houses showing the two men struggling with each other, and Brennan limp after apparently being shot. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said the actual shooting is not recorded on video, but that the recording is damning evidence.
Poulos's response to what may be an open and shut case was straightforward. "I have no idea what their evidence is other than what [the media] tell me," he told PIX11 News. "The D.A. hasn't told me. Once I see it, and get all [the evidence] that I'm entitled to get, then I'll make a decision, in cosultation with my client, of what we do and how we are to succeed."