Questions have been raised over the New York police department’s handling of a shooting near the Empire State Building after armed officers injured nine passers-by as they pursued a gunman who had just shot dead his former boss.
One of those injured by police said that officers appeared to fire “randomly” as they confronted Jeffrey Johnson, 58, minutes after a workplace dispute escalated into a chaotic shootout in one of the busiest parts of Manhattan.
Hoplophobia Mayor Michael Bloomberg was quick to point out the professionalism of two NYPD officers who shot and killed a murder suspect in front of the Empire State Building yesterday. Citizens in NYC aren’t trusted to carry handguns. It’s illegal for anyone but the cops to be armed.
I worked in NYC many times while assigned to protective details with both the Department of State and U.S. Customs Service. Most civilians are not aware that the NYPD employs around 35,000 cops. Many of them are like Jimmy Kimmel’s Uncle Frank. Uncle Frank made just six arrests in his twenty year NYPD career.
NYPD has a very strong union. Officers get fired for doing something wrong. So it’s not unusual for officers to do as little as possible, to lesson their chances of getting into trouble. Hundreds of NYPD officers are assigned to “fixed posts” and foot patrols, much like security guards are in most cities. Their job is primarily to provide a “police presence”. Think of it as a very expensive form of crime prevention.
People assume that cops can shoot because they have guns. In fact, most cops only shoot their firearms once a year at annual qualifications. Many are not particularly good marksmen. Some are far worst marksman than many civilian gun owners, who shoot regularly and participate in hunting and the shooting sports.
As the video below shows, just because two officers are assigned to “anti-terrorism” duties, does not mean they know and can follow basic law enforcement tactics when confronting an armed murder suspect on a crowded city street.
Without going into how the situation should be handled by “professionals”, suffice it to say, this is not a tactically sound approach. The one handed shooting is a big “no no” unless the officer was shot in his other hand, which he was not. In fact, this is a good training video on what NOT to do when approaching a murder suspect who is no longer an active shooter. This is a case of suicide by cop, which is fairly common. Officers must be aware of this and their surroundings.
RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND AWARE OF THE BACKGROUND
Know what it is, what is in line with it, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything you have not positively identified. Be aware of your surroundings, whether on the range or in a fight. Do not assume anything. Know what you are doing.
After firing as many as five bullets into his victim on West 33rd Street, the man was confronted by uniformed police officers moments later. He was killed in a hail of 16 police bullets that also smashed into large, concrete planters and broke up into fragments that wounded the bystanders, police said.
One witness said the killer fired once at the officers, but police said there is no ballistic evidence yet that he fired any shots at the officers.
Mayor Bloomberg said some victims may have been shot accidentally by responding police officers. The victims were either wounded or grazed and are not likely to die, he said. Police said later that most of the injuries were to the lower extremities.
A surveillance videotape “clearly shows the guy had the gun out and was trying to shoot the police officers,” Bloomberg said. “It happened very quickly … Thank God no one else was seriously injured.”
Among the victims who survived the gunfight was Robert Asika, 23, of the Bronx, who sells tickets to go to the Empire State Building observation deck. Asika said a bullet hit him in the left elbow.
If at all possible, avoid travel to New York City unless you are legally armed and trained to use your firearm better than the officers in the video. Unfortunately shooting once a year is not enough. The proof is in the video.
If you live in one of the 41 free states, seriously consider getting your concealed carry license and some good tactical training. Learn to shoot. Get a .22 pistol like a Ruger SR22 and practice as often as you can. Practice at least quarterly with your carry gun and ammo.
Take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of your family. You don’t want to have to depend on the cops or anyone else to protect you. Cops are good at investigating crime but not so good at preventing it.
“A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.” -Sigmund Freud