Bernie Goetz was arrested Friday after allegedly selling a small amount of marijuana to an undercover cop. Here, Goetz holds a news conference at New York's City Hall in May 1990 while facing a civil lawsuit filed by Darrell Cabey, who was paralyzed by Goetz's gunfire.
He went from tokens to toking.
'Subway vigilante' Bernie Goetz has turned to peddling pot, cops say, decades after he pumped five shots into four black teenagers, skyrocketing him to national fame and infamy.
The gunman, who divided the city after shooting four black teens in 1984, was arrested in Manhattan after selling a small amount of marijuana to an undercover narcotics cop Friday evening, police said.
Goetz, who will be celebrating his 66th birthday next Thursday, reportedly chatted up the undercover female officer at Union Square Park at about 5:30 p.m. and 'asked her if she wanted to get high,' according to one police source.
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When she agreed, Goetz ran off to his home and returned with $30 worth of weed, which he sold to the undercover officer at Fifth Ave. and W. 14th St., officials said.
The cop cuffed Goetz a few moments later, charging him with criminal sale of marijuana.
Police sources said they weren't targeting Goetz specifically - he just happened to cross paths with the undercover officer assigned to cracking down on ganja peddlers in the park.
Sources describe the undercover cop as 'young,' but police officials would not disclose her age - or if she was even alive when Goetz was a household name in Gotham.
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The nebbishy electronics entrepreneur's face was splashed on papers across the country after he fired five shots at Darrell Cabey, Barry Allen, Troy Canty and James Ramseur while riding a No. 2 train under Manhattan. The fusillade came after the 19-year-olds asked him for $5 on Dec. 22, 1984.
All four teens were hit, and Cabey was left paralyzed.
The straphanger - who had been mugged on a train three years earlier and as a result carried the .38 caliber Smith & Wesson he used in the shooting - insisted it was a robbery, not a request for generosity, and claimed he shot at the foursome in self-defense. Ramseur was carrying a screwdriver, officials said at the time.
A jury acquitted Goetz of attempted murder charges in the headline-grabbing trial where some in the racially divided era hailed him as a hero.
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He was ultimately convicted of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and sentenced to six months in jail.
Yet Goetz's 15 minutes of fame proved costly: He filed for bankruptcy in 1996 after Cabey won a civil suit against him and was awarded $43 million in damages.
Goetz also lost bids for mayor in 2001 and public advocate in 2005.
He last graced the pages of the Daily News in 2011, after Ramseur was found dead of a prescription drug overdose 27 years to the day Goetz shot him.
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'It sounds like he was depressed,' Goetz told The News.
Cabey remains in a wheelchair and lives in upstate New York, said his attorney, Ron Kuby.
'Maybe his small crew of bigots and yahoos will come out to support him,' Kuby said of Goetz.
'On the other hand, maybe I can garnish the profits on his dope business.'
Goetz's arraignment was pending Friday night.