NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After gunfire erupted and civilians were hurt on a crowded Midtown street Friday, some were questioning the NYPD’s tactics, including “shoot to kill.”
However, a security expert who spent 20 years with the Police Department, said officers were left with no other option when Jeffrey Johnson was shot and killed by police after he fatally shot a former co-worker.
The deadly police shooting near the Empire State Building came less than two weeks after another one near Times Square, where knife-wielding Darius Kennedy was taken down by officers.
David Boehm, CEO of Security USA, was with NYPD for two decades, and said in both cases, officers had no choice.
“Right now you have an investigation obviously that is happening,” Boehm told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.
The key to the investigation could be the surveillance footage that shows Johnson pointing his gun directly at the officers.
“They’ll give a warning. They’ll tell them to put the firearm down or drop the knife. If they can give that warning and if they can’t, they have to make that decision to use their firearm,” Boehm said.
Boehm said that the main consideration is stopping the threat.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re in the subway or if you’re on a crowded street like in Times Square or by the Empire State Building. If the officers are being threatened with deadly physical force, the officers are allowed to use deadly physical force,” he said.
The fact that bystanders were also injured will make Friday morning’s shooting a case that will be debated for a long time to come.
Police said too many residents and tourists get in the way, watching or getting video instead of running for cover as soon as these situations start.
Experts want residents and tourists to know how to run for cover as soon as a situation like what happened on Friday starts and not get in the way of officers to rubberneck or take their own videos.
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