'Hero' cop exits force

Posted: December 07, 2011

RICHARD DeCoatsworth, a five-year veteran police officer who was hailed as a hero after being shot in the face by a suspect in 2007 but who more recently drew controversial headlines, left the force last week.

DeCoatsworth, whose most recent assignment was with the Marine Unit, took disability retirement from the department after it was determined that injuries from the 2007 shooting prevented him from continuing to do police work, said spokesman Lt. Ray Evers.

After he caught the shotgun blast to the face as a rookie cop in 2007, DeCoatsworth was invited to attend a February 2009 presidential speech.

Two months later, he struggled with a suspect who allegedly tried to grab his gun before another officer fatally shot the suspect. DeCoatsworth again made headlines when he shot a man in Kensington for allegedly jumping on a motorcycle and trying to run him over.

In November, Internal Affairs launched an investigation into DeCoatsworth for an alleged scuffle with another cop while DeCoatsworth worked in the Highway Patrol Unit.

He also amassed nine Internal Affairs citizen complaints accusing him of assault, abuse and misconduct, Officer Tanya Little, a police spokeswoman, previously told the Daily News.

Just one of the complaints, when the officer was a cadet, was sustained, and he was cited for a departmental violation, Little said.

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