NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There have been four police-involved shootings in eight days.
They have left some people wondering if there’s a reason behind this spike in violence toward officers, CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported Wednesday.
A routine traffic stop that turned into a violent drug bust.
A man taken down after firing a gun from a subway platform.
A gunman shot by police as he aimed his weapon at another man.
A domestic dispute during which an officer was shot in the chest and saved only by his bulletproof vest.
“Right there. Thank God he was wearing it,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said, referring to the Wednesday morning shooting of an officer in Harlem.
The spike in police-involved shootings coincides with a rise in apparent public disrespect of officers.
So what’s going on on the streets of New York? The following is what O’Neill told Moore few weeks ago.
“People need to respect the cops, they need to respect men and women of the NYPD and they need to respect people in law enforcement,” O’Neill said.
When asked if the recent shootings say something about the way the public is now behaving toward police, retired NYPD Sgt. Kevin Harrington said, “I think we’d see the numbers reflect an increase in violence, not just the small uptick that you’ve seen.”
Harrington said recently policy changes, like decriminalizing marijuana and banning stop and frisk, have made New Yorkers less respectful and more defiant, because some criminals know they won’t be arrested.
O’Neill told Moore one of the biggest issues his officers face is the surplus of illegal guns on the streets.
Harrington said the real issue is the disconnect between arrest and prosecution.
“Law enforcement in the NYPD on the front lines, you are going to engage people carrying firearms illegally,” he said. “I think those people have to be held accountable. I think the district attorney’s office has to be held accountable for the prosecution side of it.”
While preliminary investigations suggest all four recent police shootings were justified, they also serve as a reminder of the dangers NYPD officers face every day.