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Bronx Personal Injury & Real Estate Blog

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Bronx Police Officer Faces Possible Disciplinary Action in Shooting Death

Q: Is a police officer’s shooting of an unarmed suspect ever justified?

Unfortunately, in New York City police brutality and police misconduct cases are not uncommon.

In fact on a national scope, tension between the police and the public has escalated over the past several years due in part to numerous high profile fatal interactions between the police and minority members of the public. This deterioration of relations has led in part to the rise of the Black Lives Matters and Blue Lives Matter movements.

With the current state of politically-fueled national unrest sparking seemingly daily organized protests involving enormous crowds of protesters of all races--some of which turn violent—there are even more opportunities for physical clashes between the police and the public.

Police have a duty to use “the minimal amount of force required” to control a given situation as well as to follow appropriate police protocol in all instances. When officers deviate from those standards, or if they fail to uphold a person’s civil rights, they may be guilty of police brutality or misconduct.

Incidents that may constitute police brutality or misconduct might include:

  • using excessive force;
  • false arrest;
  • false imprisonment;
  • wrongful shootings;
  • taser injuries;
  • high-speed police car chases;
  • racial profiling; and
  • police activities.

Almost five years ago in what’s been referred to as an "early focal point for national outrage over police use of deadly force against black men", a white male police officer shot and killed an unarmed a black 18 year old male in the Bronx.

On that fateful day, an NYPD narcotics team investigating drug dealing began tailing the teen and his friends upon their exit from a “known drug location”. The narcotics team radioed information about the teen, including its suspicions about him having a gun in his waistband.

Responding police officers trailed the suspects to an apartment building, kicked in the apartment door of the teenager, and allegedly ordered him  to "stop and show your hands” at least three times prompting him to duck into the bathroom in what may have been an attempt to flush some marijuana down the toilet. At the bathroom door, the officer alleges the suspect reached for his waistband, prompting him to fire the fatal single gunshot into the teen’s chest. As it turns out, he had no gun.

Were the police officer’s actions justified or a violation of procedure? Were protocols to get suspects to surrender followed? Could or should the officer have merely guarded the front door and waited for back up and/or instructions from a superior officer?

The teen’s family’s wrongful death action against the city was settled for just under $4 million. Manslaughter charges were ultimately dropped. Now, this upcoming internal police department hearing will determine what if any disciplinary action will be taken against the officer for the events of that day.

If you or a loved one suspect that you were victims of police brutality or misconduct, call The Goldstein Firm at 718-239-0239 for a free consultation. We vigorously pursue police brutality and misconduct actions on behalf of clients throughout New York as well as those victimized while visiting New York.


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