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Friday, August 24, 2012

Cops Shoot Bystanders in Midtown New York

UPDATE #7  (Saturday) Police finally admit all bystanders shot with police bullets--and gun man did not fire gun at all.  They still claim--and media not questioning--that their actions "saved lives" even though the gunman was trying to get away,  having accomplished his goal of assassinating former rival.  

UPDATE #6:  Surveillance video of shooting of gunman emerges, seems to show him drawing gun (even if he did not shoot it). Raises question: How could police fire from such short range--and still hit nine bystanders? 

UPDATE #5 (8 p.m.)  The Guardian with first complaint by one of those shot--man accuses police of not aiming carefully.  "I could be dead," he says. ... NYT with separate story on the police decision to fire and policy.  Raises questions.  Hard to tell if reporters actually saw surveillance video or taking police words on it--should be more clear. 

UPDATE #4  My new post on NYPD policy on use of "deadly force."  Did cops violate it today? ... WNBC top report at 6 p.m. repeats "shootout" claim twice within first two minutes and says unknown if gunman fired  and if cops hit bystanders.  .. NYT update now includes police claim that suspect "may" have fired one shot at cops but admit bystanders all shot by police.   NY Daily News, which had earlier promoted the "gun battle" meme, now reports,  "It appears Johnson never squeezed off a shot at the cops." 

UPDATE #3  Media continue to give NY cops slack on shooting today.  One wonders if they would do that if, say, police bullets had killed three bystanders instead of merely wounding nine.   Here's the current AP story which still refers to maybe "some" of bystanders being hit by cops when it's clear now that all of them were (the gunman, Johnson, did not fire weapon in the "gun battle").  It says there's still "conflicting" evidence on whether Johnson shot, with the only conflict being the police chief claiming that at first.  And it swallows whole police claim that video (unseen) shows Johnson pointing gun at cops at close range.  What's needed: cell phone footage of actual "shootout" shot by the many folks nearby.

UPDATE #2:  As I suggested earlier, NYT has now confirmed--though they bury the fact--that the gunman, Jeffrey Johnson, indeed did not fire his weapon at cops, and both Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly lied about it, apparently.  NYT:  Bloomberg and Kelly said cops "returned fire" but: "A law enforcement official said later on Friday that Mr. Johnson did not fire his weapon."

My quick check of current media reports show nearly everyone still referring to "shootout" or police "returning fire" or "taking fire."   Here's NY Daily News right now: "Two officers fired 14 rounds at Johnson from about five feet away after the gunman started blasting without provocation, officials said."  Bloomberg News calls it a "firefight." NY Post right now: "cops on anti-terror patrol drew their weapons on Johnson and he opened fire."  The Guardian says it's now "understood" that the gunman did not fire at cops but still says some of the wounded "may" have been hit by police fire. 

UPDATE:   Police now say they fired 14 shots in all. Channel 7 local TV at hospital: Victims' families asking if police shot their loved one.

Earlier: Mayor Mike Bloomberg's press conference on NYC shooting today in front of Empire State Building, just over, raising troubling questions for me--if not for reporters, who did not query strongly.  He disclosed that nine bystanders were struck, likely at least some, "unfortunately," by police fire.  It's even possible that all of them were shot by police since Bloomberg would not say anything more than the police were "threatened" when the man drew a gun from a black bag or briefcase--does not say he actually fired.  Given a couple chances to claim there was a gunfight, he remained vague--even though Police Commissioner Kelly had just said flatly that cops "returned fire." 

This raises question--at least for me--on what is NYC police policy on opening fire in midtown at rush hour.  Six taken to hospitals.   The gunman killed, after he killed former employer.  Ashley Banfield on CNN afterward did mention that there would be a lot of "forensic" work coming to nail down where the bullets came from.  She points out gunman's handgun only held eight bullets at most.  But first guest on MSNBC insists on calling it "shootout"--which it might, or might not, have been. CNN reporter on the scenes calls the nine bystanders "collateral damage."

Earlier this month, police shot and killed a homeless man in midtown who was carrying a large knife--and this scene was captured by many locals and tourists armed with cell phone cameras.  Wonder if anyone caught today's episode in prime tourist area.

How police will be judged will be based on when police opened fire:  1) if he reached for gun in black bag  2)  if he pulled out gun and pointed it  3) if he actually fired at police.  What seems clear from reports is that he had eight bullets in the gun at most and used three of them in shooting his former employer or colleague.   Jury out until video--official or amateur--emerges. 


Anonymous said...

Untill police departments start random testing for illegal anabolic steroid use by their officers, there will be no end to police wounding & murder of citizens.

John Connelly said...

NYT is prominently displaying on its front page the fact that

NYT Metro Desk · @NYTMetro
Jeffrey Johnson did not shoot at cops, law enforcement official says. #EmpireState