Ex-city cop wins huge award after chair he sat in broke, sending bullet into his knee http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local...excity_cop_wins_huge_award_after_chair_h.html It's ragged, ripped and unsteady, but you can call it the city's $4.5 million chair. Former New York City Detective Anderson Alexander was sitting in it in Brooklyn's 73rd Precinct on Jan. 1, 2002, when his partner handed him his gun so the partner could interview a suspect. Alexander leaned back to put the gun in his waistband, but the back of the chair gave way, his finger slipped and the 9-mm. Smith & Wesson fired a bullet into his left knee. Now, despite the best efforts of city lawyers to portray the 11-year veteran as a klutz, a Brooklyn jury has awarded Alexander $4,548,000 in damages. "This case is not about him shooting himself," Alexander's lawyer Matthew Maiorana told the Daily News. "This case is about a broken chair and an unsafe workplace. "Anderson would give the money right back if he could have his job back and his knee back." Alexander, 49, who retired on a three-quarters-pay disability pension, moved to South Carolina, where he works as a sheriff's deputy. He declined comment. The city vowed to appeal. "While it is unfortunate that Mr. Alexander shot himself in the knee accidentally, there was scant proof the chair in which he was sitting was defective," said Fay Leoussis, the city's Tort Division chief. "And no proof at all that any supposed defect had been reported to anyone." There isn't even a chair anymore. Jurors had to settle for a blown-up picture of the ragged, ripped seat because the city somehow misplaced the chair. "We had sent a letter to the precinct to preserve the chair," Maiorana said. "They couldn't produce it. "There were pictures of the chair from the crime scene unit. It looks worn, dilapidated and rundown. It's an ugly-looking chair." Alexander, a Navy veteran who was born and raised in Brooklyn, was a decorated second-grade detective assigned to the elite street crimes unit at the time. "This is a guy who took hundreds of guns off the street," Maiorana said. "He knew how to handle a gun." Holiday decorations were still around that New Year's Day as Alexander's partner, Peter Schrammel, handed him his 40-ounce gun for safe-keeping. Alexander's service weapon was in a hip holster so, without standing up, he put Schrammel's in his waistband. As he leaned back, the chair back slipped and jerked him backward. As he tried to right himself, his finger slipped under the finger guard and the bullet discharged into Alexander's left leg, shattering a bone in his knee joint. "He's lucky in a sense that he didn't shoot himself somewhere else," Maiorana said. "He's not a klutz. He's a guy who just leaned back in a chair." The six-member jury deliberated six hours over two days after a three-week trial. On Nov. 18, it gave Alexander $500,000 for pain he's suffered, $1 million for future pain, $1.3 million for lost wages, $1.3 million for lost pension and the rest for future medical bills and other expenses. An avid basketball, football and baseball player, Alexander can no longer be a "weekend warrior" and would need painful knee-replacement surgery to repair the damage, his lawyer said. Alexander made more than $90,000 a year before he retired, including overtime. He's earning more than $50,000 on disability pension, plus $24,000 as a sheriff's deputy. "He's a court officer, runs a metal detector," Maiorana said. "He does wear a gun. It sounds like it was a case about a gun. It wasn't a case about a gun. It was about the chair."