Flatbush man sentenced to 30 years for stabbing, shooting cops during Floyd protests

NYPD Officers Randy Ramnarine (left) and Yayon Frantz Jean Pierre exit Brooklyn federal court after the sentencing of Dzenan Camovic, Sept. 21, 2022.
Photo by Ben Brachfeld

A Flatbush man was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison Wednesday for stabbing and shooting at NYPD officers during the 2020 George Floyd protests.

Dzenan Camovic, 22, was handed the three-decade sentence behind bars by Judge Rachel Kovner, in front of an audience full of cops, on federal robbery and gun charges, in connection to the June 3, 2020 stabbing of one police officer and shooting of two others in Flatbush, during a period of widespread civil unrest in the five boroughs over police brutality and accountability.

The defendant, who was born in Germany to Bosnian immigrants, is set to be deported from the United States following his sentence, which will also include three years of supervised release.

Camovic pled guilty in March to both the federal charges and separate state charges of aggravated assault, firearm possession, and reckless endangerment. Per the terms of his plea agreement, he was also sentenced to 30 years Wednesday in state court, which he is to serve concurrently with the federal sentence. Judge Kovner agreed to credit Camovic for time served for the 27 months he has already been in custody.

Prosecutors charged that Camovic was standing at the corner of Flatbush and Church avenues late at night, during a citywide curfew, and lunged at two NYPD officers on an “anti-looting” patrol, stabbing Officer Yayon Frantz Jean Pierre in the neck. He then allegedly rushed the other officer, Randy Ramnarine, and threw his knife at him.

Ramnarine tripped after firing his gun, resulting in a tussle with Camovic that ended with the perp retrieving the cop’s service weapon. He fired the gun at Ramnarine and struck him in the hand, and fired at additional cops responding to the chaos; another officer was also shot in the hand.

Officers ultimately shot and incapacitated Camovic, who was taken to Kings County Hospital to treat his wounds.

A search warrant later turned up what prosecutors described as “a significant volume of radical jihadist propaganda,” arguing they suggested Camovic was aligned with ISIS and intended the attack as terrorism. Artie McConnell, one of the prosecutors on the case, described Camovic’s motives as “jihadist fantasy.”

Camovic was “fully intending that night to kill as many police officers as possible,” McConnell told the judge. “It’s a miracle that no one here was killed.”

Camovic’s attorney, Robert Stahl, argued to the judge that his client had a history of undiagnosed depression and anxiety, and posited that Camovic was more interested in killing himself that night than others. He described the incident as a “tragic mistake in judgment.”

The judge agreed to recommend that Camovic be incarcerated at Federal Medical Center, Devens in Massachusetts, where his lawyers said he would be able to get psychological treatment. His ultimate assignment will be up to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

In contrast to Camovic, no NYPD officers have lost their jobs for misconduct and brutality against protesters during the Floyd protests. The only cop facing criminal charges, Vincent D’Andraia, recently saw his criminal charges for shoving a protester to the curb near the Barclays Center dropped.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board in May recommended discipline against 145 officers for their actions during the Floyd protests, including driving squad cars into crowds of protesters, illegal “kettling,” and arresting legal observers and journalists. Only a handful have faced departmental discipline.