Police shoot man in Times Square

A reader sent me a video of part of the incident in Times Square on Saturday in which a knife-wielding man was eventually shot dead by police. The reader described it as a “palpable sign of our city’s, and our civilization’s, gradual collapse: a wild black man running through the streets in broad daylight slashing all who he encountered with a butcher’s knife. And to see the enablers of his sort question the policemen’s actions is to enter a strange variant of Alice’s Wonderland.”

I’ve watched several videos (though none containing the actual shooting) and this doesn’t strike me as an unusual or significant event. A crazy black man brandishing a knife (he didn’t slash anyone) and refusing to put it down and surrender to police, and eventually as the police closed in on him he lunged at them with the knife from three feet away and they shot him dead.

And the complaints that the police should not have used deadly force are to be expected. They should have shot him in the leg or the arm or tased him. People don’t understand that merely wounding an assailant is very often not enough to stop him. A strong, crazy man is lunging at officers with a foot-long knife from three feet away and they’re supposed to do what? try to shoot the knife out of his hand? That was the first reaction of a conservative female friend.

The one unusual thing about the incident is the man’s backward loping for several blocks down Seventh Avenue while the police follow him, guns drawn, and crowds follow, cell phone cameras drawn.

I wonder if there are any videos that show the actual shooting. Here is the part of the New York Times story that describes it:

The episode—bizarre even by the standards of Times Square—sent tourists running for cover (or their cellphone cameras), but nobody other than [Darrius] Kennedy was in danger of being shot, [Paul Browne, the NYPD spokesman] said. He said that no police officers or civilians were in the line of fire when the two officers shot their 9-millimeter pistols from close range.

By that point, the police had backed Mr. Kennedy up to the entrance of an office building on Seventh Avenue near 37th Street and had hemmed him in with a patrol car parked perpendicular to the sidewalk, Mr. Browne said. The two officers in that car jumped out and ordered Mr. Kennedy to drop his weapon, a nearly foot-long kitchen knife with a six-inch blade.

When he moved within three feet of the officers, still holding the knife, the police said, they let loose a burst of bullets, drawing gasps from the rapt witnesses. Some of them had trailed the police down the avenue, capturing the drama in photographs and video.

One officer fired nine shots, and the other fired three, Mr. Browne said. He added that neither officer previously fired a weapon in the line of duty.

Notice how the Times reporter, Patrick McGeehan, fails to use the past perfect in that last sentence. It should have been: “He added that neither officer HAD previously fired a weapon in the line of duty.” The loss of the past perfect at the world’s most prestigious newspaper is a more worrying sign of civilizational decline to me than a crazy black man in Times Square. To paraphrase the Gospel of John, crazy black men you always have with you.

Also, typically, the Times doesn’t describe the actual shooting until the 14th paragraph of the article. Before that, it gives priority to the complaints by Darrius Kennedy’s family and liberal activists that the police should not have used deadly force, along with official’s generic, non-factual assertions that the police acted properly. A proper (i.e., non-liberal) newspaper article would have described the actual circumstances of the shooting at the very beginning of the article, immediately putting to rest the notion that the police should not have killed the man.

At the above linked YouTube page here is the message from the person who filmed the video:

An emotionally disturbed man pulls a huge knife on an NYPD officer and a chase ensues down 7th Avenue starting at 44th Street with NYPD officers at gunpoint. I would have followed further, but I had basically abandoned my family and some visiting friends to get this video. Police later shot the suspect dead at 37th street after he lunged at an officer. I was standing ten feet from this guy when he started ranting some crazy dialogue in the middle of 44th Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue. A female NYPD officer told him it was fine to speak, but to do it on the sidewalk. A minute later this chase began. I just remember the knife being HUGE.

Also see the idiot comments on the same page from people who know nothing about reality condemning the cops in vicious language for killing the man.

- end of initial entry -

Jeanette V. writes:

Interesting how no one sees the real problem. 50 years ago this person would have been in a mental institution.

Sage McLaughlin writes:

I am no fan of our law enforcement institutions as they are presently constituted, but I still recognize some basic realities about public safety, and the need for police to use deadly force under some circumstances. Whenever an incident like this takes place, you always hear people making the insane suggestion that the police should have shot the criminal in such a way as to incapacitate him.

Anybody who has ever fired a weapon at a target, or taken a basic shooting course, realizes that it is basically impossible to disarm a man by shooting him, and it is just as difficult to incapacitate him in some non-lethal way by putting a bullet in a carefully-chosen location like his kneecap or quadriceps. That just isn’t what guns do, and only a person whose entire stock of exposure to handguns comes from watching action movies could think that police are capable of shooting reliably at a moving knife or at a person’s legs.

The Times’ coverage of such events, of course, is both cause and consequence of their readers’ ignorance.

Paul K. writes:

After a shooting of this nature the police always have to mollify uninformed people asking why it was necessary to shoot and kill a man armed “only” with a knife.

Almost 30 years ago, a Salt Like City police firearms instructor, Sgt. Dennis Tueller, demonstrated that within seven yards a man with a knife can kill a police officer before the latter can effectively bring his sidearm into action. Several factors are involved: the speed at which seven yards can be crossed, the advantage action has over reaction, and the fact that even numerous hits with pistol bullets may not immediately shut an attacker down.The Tueller Drill is now a standard part of the training of police officers.

Here is an article about it.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 13, 2012 09:23 AM | Send

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