Gunshots in Times Square

Yesterday, two New York Police shot two women in Times Square. Both are in the hospital and stable, that’s the good news. They were shooting at someone who they thought had a weapon.

Police said officers saw a man on foot weaving erratically through
traffic and sometimes blocking vehicles. After approaching him, police
said, the man reached into his pocket as if grabbing a weapon, and two
officers fired a total of three shots. They missed him but struck a
54-year-old woman in the right knee and a grazed a 35-year-old woman in
the buttocks, police said.

The man was taken into custody after a police sergeant subdued him with a Taser. No weapons were found on him.
said the 35-year-old suspect was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he
was in stable condition. They described him as “emotionally disturbed.”

I don’t feel like I have enough data to assess this. It’s seems like another case of the police finding someone with a disability, perhaps in this case some kind of mental illness, and reacting with violence too quickly. This is the pattern.

My friend K points out this story as well from North Carolina, in which a man seems to have been in a car wreck. He ran to a home and knocked. The woman opened the door, saw it wasn’t her husband, closed the door, and called 911. I do not blame her for this. The police arrived:

The statement said officers approached Ferrell to investigate the
original call. Ferrell ran toward the officers and was hit with a Taser.
Ferrell continued to run toward police when Officer Randall Kerrick
fired his weapon, hitting Ferrell several times. Ferrell was pronounced
dead at the scene.
Investigators said they think a
wrecked car discovered down an embankment in nearby woods may have been
driven by Ferrell, and investigators say he may have been trying to get
help from the resident who called 911.
Police Chief Rodney Monroe said the accident was serious and Ferrell
would have been forced to climb out of the back window of the vehicle.
He apparently walked to the nearest house and banged on the door.

In my CNN column on Ethan Saylor, I talked about the idea that we are all only temporarily able bodied. Disability, permanent or temporarily, waits for all of us. K. points out that after a bad accident such as the one Ferrell endured, he likely was not entirely in his right mind – adrenalin, pain, confusion, stress – these can shape behavior. In such a moment, he ran towards the officer, seeking help, and the officer shot him.

According to the chief, the officer “is pretty shook up,” “He’s devastated.”

But will this event shift police culture, firearm protocols, training in in North Carolina?

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