Members of the largely Caribbean Bronx neighborhood of Williamsbridge recently came together to protest the police shooting of a local teenager – the latest incident of police violence.
An NYPD investigation of street corner drug dealing – a neighborhood problem according to local residents – targeted a Bronx 18-year-old for questioning in February 2012. Believing he was armed, street narcotics officers chased the teen to his second-floor Bronx apartment, broke down the door and shot him as his grandmother and 6-year-old brother stood by. A thorough search revealed a bag of marijuana but no gun. The victim died at a nearby hospital of a single gunshot wound to the chest, according to a WSJ.com article.
Also, an online video showing police kicking and punching another teen – again an 18-year-old – during his recent arrest has sparked community outrage and charges of police brutality. While the Bronx district attorney’s office investigates the case, the four officers involved in the beating are on restricted duty. “I know there are good cops out there, but there are few bad apples and we have to set an example,” said the victim’s mother.
Wave of Police Shootings is Unusual in Recent Years
Police shot and killed eight people in the line of duty and injured 16 in 2010, a rate consistent with the figures from 2007 through 2009. Yet only three officers were injured between 2008 and 2010 and none were killed. That changed with the December 2011 death of Officer Peter Figoski, who was shot during a botched robbery. In another recent incident, Officer Kevin Brennan was shot in the head at point-blank range, but survived. Suspects in the incidents have pleaded not guilty.
Despite these dangers, police remain under scrutiny for the use of excessive violence and other types of police misconduct. According to NYDailyNews.com, Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, observed that given enough time the public often forgets the names of police killed in the line of duty, but they can still remember the names of the unarmed men who were shot and killed by police 13 years ago – a particular incident that led to major reforms in the department of 35,000.
The vast majority of police are hard-working individuals that have earned the trust that society has place in them, but as humans they too can make mistakes. If you or a loved one has been injured or mistreated by law enforcement, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case and determine your options.