Review Under Way After Bystanders Hit During Police-Involved Shooting Outside Port Authority
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Officials are taking a close look at Saturday night’s police-involved shooting that left two bystanders wounded.
As WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reported, police sources said Glenn Broadnax told investigators he was on a death mission as he stumbled into traffic outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal around 10 p.m. on Saturday.
Broadnax, 35, wandered through traffic and pointed his fingers at police like a gun, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported.
In response, two officers fired a total of three shots, which all missed the emotionally disturbed Brooklyn man who was about 20 feet away but struck two female bystanders.
John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor Maki Haberfeld said the department will evaluate the officers’ training and disciplinary records. As a matter of practice, the department always reviews police-involved shootings.
She said recent incidents, like the brutal deadly attack on a soldier in London, serve as a reminder that police officers are on high alert for dangerous individuals.
“Believe me, this is the biggest nightmare of any police officer: to be forced to shoot in a crowded situation. That’s something that no police officer ever wants to be part of,” Haberfeld told Murnane. “It’s hard to expect police officers to be able to diagnose the person who behaves in an erratic manner — ‘oh, this is just somebody who has some emotional or mental problems’ as opposed to somebody who is going to push a button and explode themselves.”
In a statement issued Monday, the NYPD reiterated that officers are authorized to use deadly physical force when they reasonably believe they must do so to protect themselves or another person or persons present from imminent death or serious physical injury.
However, some residents said they feel police overreacted particularly because the incident happened on a busy street.
“I feel what they did was reckless,” one person said. “They should be suspended for that.”
“If the perp didn’t have no gun, why are you taking out a gun and shooting?” another added.
“Forty-second and Eighth Avenue is like New Year’s Eve, so common sense says you don’t pull your gun on something like that,” Times Square resident Tom McCabe told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.
The responding officers have been on the force for a year and a half and three years, police commissioner Ray Kelly said.
The officers involved in Saturday’s incident have been placed on administrative duty while the investigation is being conducted, Aiello reported.
In August 2012, nine people were injured from bullets fired by police in a confrontation with a gunman near the Empire State Building. They were hit by stray bullets, ricochets and fragments, suffering non-life-threatening gunshot and graze wounds. Officials at the time defended the officers’ decision to fire on a street crowded with people.
Attorney Michael Lamonsoff, who represented bystanders injured in that shooting, said he thinks this latest incident points to training issues.
“There is no doubt police have the right to defend themselves, nobody’s taking that away. However, not being given the proper training by the police force isn’t their fault. It’s the fault of the NYPD,” he told Murnane.
Jon Shane, an assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who reviewed video of Saturday night’s incident, said a turning point happened when officers moved in on Broadnax.
“The moment you … decide to close the distance between the officer and the offender, you inevitably reduce your reaction time,” he told CBS 2’s Don Champion.
A 2006 NYPD review found the average hit rate for officers involved in a shooting with an armed subject was only 18 percent.
NYPD officers have to qualify twice a year at the gun range. Lateif Dickerson, a law enforcement instructor, says more practice is needed.
“Cops do too much missing,” Dickerson said.
“The training you’re doing in a controlled environment is different than what you’re going to see on the street,” he said.
The NYPD also noted that through Sept. 8, the number of shots fired by officers has dropped nearly 36 percent compared to the same time period last year. Saturday’s incident was the first time this year that bystanders were wounded in a police-involved shooting, the department said.
“Particularly if you compare them to other cities on a per-capita basis, our police department’s very well managed and the officers are very well supervised and the officers themselves are very disciplined. It’s tragic what was done here, I just have to wait for the investigation,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The mayor added there has been a notable downward trend in the number of police-involved shootings over the past 20 years.
“In 1993, it was 300 that year. In ’01 when we came into office, it was 140. Last year it was a record low 83 and we’re on pace for about 70 this year,” said Bloomberg.
A 54-year-old woman was shot in the right knee and required surgery.
That woman – identified by friends as Theodora Ray – lives right around the corner from the shooting scene in the Theater District, according to friends.
Sahara Koshaklagh, 37, also of Manhattan, suffered a graze wound to her buttocks, 1010 WINS reported.
Witnesses said it appeared Broadnax was on drugs and was trying to get hit by a car. He narrowly escaped getting hit by vehicles as they swerved around him.
In the midst of chaos following the gunfire, Broadnax was struck by a taser fired by a sergeant who responded to the scene.
Broadnax is being held without bail on charges of menacing, criminal possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest.
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