Police shootings have captured headlines around the country recently and there has been yet another officer-involved incident right here in Harlem. On September 4th an unarmed man was shot by a NYPD officer during a struggle in Marcus Garvey Park. The 28-year old victim (an unnamed male) was rushed to the hospital with a single gunshot wound to the upper torso. While the NYPD is investigating, critiques are calling this a clear case of excessive force in New York City.
According to police reports, an officer was assigned to patrol the park after “a number” of complaints from the public. Shortly after arriving on-scene, the officer claims that the individual rushed up and punched him in the face. A short foot chase ensued and when the officer finally caught up to the man, he resisted arrest.
A struggle erupted during which the officer drew his weapon and fired. According to police the decision to use potentially lethal force was made after the unnamed male reached toward his waistband. However, a thorough search of the crime scene failed to uncover a second firearm.
While police officers are allowed to use deadly force in the line of duty, the instances in which it is acceptable are very limited. The officer has to believe that his life or the life of another individual is in immediate danger and lethal force is the only available option. Many point to this case as a clear indicator that NYPD officers are still too quick to use excessive force.
Despite the mayor’s office and police commissioner repeated pledges to get a handle on police officer use of excessive force, these incidents continue to occur. Most recently, the “choke hold” scandal uncovered thousands of complaints of excessive force-even against pregnant women-in the last three years.
If your or a loved one has been the victim of officer-related violence, contact a New York City excessive force attorney today to discuss your case confidentially. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn your rights.