What to Know
- A man who hacked at an off-duty police detective with a meat cleaver near Penn Station has been sentenced to 20 years in prison
- Akram Joudeh, 34, was convicted of charges including second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and menacing a police officer
- The attack happened after two officers spotted Joudeh trying to pull a boot off of a police officer's car
A man who hacked at an off-duty police detective with a meat cleaver near Penn Station has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Akram Joudeh, 34, was convicted of charges including second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and menacing a police officer on Oct. 29, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office said.
Investigators say the attack happened after Joudeh became upset about a boot that had been placed on his car, which was parked at Broadway and West 30th Street.
After two officers approached him, Joudeh pulled out a meat cleaver and ran toward West 32nd Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, where he attacked O’Donnell as the detective tried to stop him. O’Donnell underwent surgery after the attack.
Before his sentencing Thursday, Joudeh apologized to O'Donnell's family, but said his own life had changed as a result of the attack as well.
Joudeh said he couldn't believe he caused O'Donnell's injuries when he saw pictures of them. He said he wasn't able to recall the incident.
O'Donnell, meanwhile, said Joudeh "affected my life and the other officers involved in this too."
"He can blame everybody else, but he needs to look in the mirror and blame himself first," the detective said. "It's his fault, not ours."
In a statement following Joudeh's sentencing on Thursday, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said Joudeh would “serve a prison sentence commensurate with this intolerable violence.”
“Every day NYPD officers put their lives on the line to protect their fellow New Yorkers,” Vance said. “Off-duty Detective Brian O’Donnell embodied this principle when he courageously jumped into action, tackling a man wielding a meat cleaver among scores of midtown pedestrians.”
O'Donnell on Thursday said the left side of his mouth is "still numb" following the attack.
A scar left on his face makes him feel like a "different person" when he looks in the mirror, but O'Donnell said he wouldn't change anything he did the day of the attack.
"I did my job. That's what I did," he said. "Hopefully I don't have to do it again, but I'd do it again if I have to."