Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Jihadist-Inspired Attack on New York City Police Department Officers

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Dzenan Camovic was sentenced by United States District Judge Rachel P. Kovner to 30 years in prison for the robbery of a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer’s firearm and discharging that firearm at several NYPD officers during the course of the robbery.  Camovic, who was inspired by terrorism, is a Bosnian citizen illegally in the United States.  He will be deported after completing his sentence.  He is also scheduled to be sentenced in state court in Brooklyn today to state charges arising out of the same conduct. 

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Keechant Sewell, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the sentence.

“Today’s 30-year sentence, along with Camovic’s removal from the United States, guarantees the community will be protected from his hate-filled ideology and actions,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “We will never stop working to protect the safety of our brave law enforcement officers and community from those who would do them harm.”

Mr. Peace expressed his appreciation to the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force for its outstanding work on the case and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance.

“As today’s sentence demonstrates, those who direct hate-fueled violence at anyone – including the brave men and women of law enforcement – will face stiff consequences in our criminal justice system.   Along with our partners on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, we remain steadfast in our determination to protect our city and our Nation from terrorists and their violent extremist ideology,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll. 

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“An attack against New York City police officers is an attack against our city and way of life – and today’s sentencing of Dzenan Camovic sends a clear message that such violence will never be tolerated,” said Police Commissioner Sewell. “Our NYPD family is thankful our brave officers survived this premeditated ambush. I commend our NYPD investigators, our partners in the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the prosecutors in the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York, for their work in this case. Together, we will never stop working to protect our city.”

As set forth in court filings and during the plea and sentencing proceedings, on the evening of June 3, 2020, in the midst of a public health emergency and while New York City was under a nightly curfew order, Camovic attacked several uniformed NYPD officers assigned to post near the intersection of Flatbush and Church Avenues in Brooklyn, New York.    At approximately 11:50 p.m., Camovic rounded the corner from Flatbush Avenue onto Church Avenue and stabbed one of the officers (Officer 1) in the neck with a knife.  After stabbing Officer 1, Camovic chased the second officer (Officer 2), lunging at him and attempting to stab him.  Camovic then ran back to Officer 1, attacked him, forcibly took control of Officer 1’s firearm and fired multiple shots at Officer 2 and other officers who responded to the scene.  Responding officers ultimately shot Camovic and took him into custody.  Several officers suffered injuries during Camovic’s attack and robbery, including Officer 1, who was stabbed in the neck, and Officer 2, who was shot in the hand and lost a finger as a result.  A third officer also sustained a gunshot wound to the hand.

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During his attack on the police officers, Camovic repeatedly shouted “Allahu Akbar,” a common Arabic phrase meaning “God is the greatest,” that has been used by perpetrators of jihadist terror attacks during the commission of violent attacks.  Prior to the attack, Camovic possessed a significant volume of radical jihadist propaganda.

During the sentencing proceeding, and as stipulated in Camovic’s plea agreement, Judge Kovner found that the terrorism enhancement to the United States Sentencing Guidelines—an enhanced sentence for certain criminal conduct that was calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion—is applicable to his offense.    

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Craig R. Heeren, Artie McConnell and Josh Hafetz are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendant:

DZENAN CAMOVIC
Age:  22
Brooklyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No.  20-CR-326 (RPK)