Within the past month, there’s been a healthy uptick in officers exercising the use of deadly force within New York City.
These series of officers who seemingly used said force justifiably is igniting the heated debate between supporters of police and anti-law enforcement groups and advocates regarding whether the force used in these, and nearly all, deadly force occurrences is excessive.
Since mid-October of this year, NYPD officers have shot five people in the course of their duty, killing four of them.
The sudden spike in shootings has left department veterans pondering what could be fueling the increase in hostile interactions between police and suspects.
Take for instance that on October 23rd, a man in Harlem shot at police, striking one of them in their vest and was subsequently shot and killed by the officers.
A mere two days later, a man was shot by police after he ran into a nail salon in Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood and attacked Officer Lesly Lafontant by striking him with a chair on the head. That officer was placed in a medically induced coma for several days after the struggle.
In law enforcement circles, there’s a growing feeling that people are feeling emboldened to act out against police officers.
This concept isn’t too hard to believe when you remember the story we shared about the police officers getting water dumped on them and having the bucket thrown at one of them too after the dumping.
Police unions are also naming the frequent criticism of police from city politicians and reform advocates as one of the contributing factors as well.
The Police Benevolent Association, which is one of the police unions wary of the emboldened anti-police sentiments, says a lack of support from police leaders has left officers feeling isolated and abandoned, exemplified by the decision in August to fire an officer in the 2014 death of Eric Garner.
Unions also mention hesitancy by judges and prosecutors to put suspects in jail, joined with criminal justice reforms like the elimination of bail for non-violent crime coming in January will make it harder for officers to keep the streets and themselves safe.
Joseph Giacalone, a former NYPD sergeant had the following to say on the topic, scrutinizing the climate that politicians and advocates have fostered:
“The message is that there are no consequences for your actions. You’re a victim and you’re a victim of society and you’re a victim of racism. And the police are the enemy because they are the tool they use to oppress you. That’s basically the message that has been filtered down.”
Despite the fair assessment of the reason for things being the way they are, critics of the police and their tactics and use of force think ownness is on the police.
They clamor that police have been stoking the fire by use of aggressive tactics, such as arresting people for jumping subway turnstiles and running down people suspected of carrying guns. Rebecca Kavanagh, a public defender, is one of these very critics.
Kavanagh made mention of the September 29th friendly fire death of Officer Brian Mulkeen, which she said wouldn’t have happened if the police didn’t pursue a suspect who fled on foot.
Mulkeen, part of an anti-crime unit tasked with removing guns from the streets, was wrestling with 27-year-old Antonio Williams, and could be heard on body-camera footage yelling:
“He’s reaching for it! He’s reaching for it!” before his fellow officers opened fire to help the officer. Sadly, an effort to save an officer led to his death.
Joo-Hyun Kang, the director of Communities United for Police Reform, thinks clandestine disciplinary files secret and the influence of the NYPD and unions are permitting police officers to use deadly force with little or no consequence. He stated:
“Police violence isn’t new, but abusive and violent policing is out of control in New York City.”
Kang was also one of the advocates vying to have every officer involved with the Eric Garner arrest and death fired.
Police officials brought up that some of the suspects shot by police this past month also had criminal records as well, but Kavanagh believes that those details can work to demonize a person and make it seem like shooting them was justified.
The string of the five shootings by police originated from an alleged gun wielding suspect on October 15th outside a Brooklyn public housing complex.
According to police, 30-year-old Nasheem Prioleau was killed after pointing a gun and possibly firing at a pair of anti-crime officers who saw him shooting at another person and had ordered him to drop the weapon.
Rebecca Kavanagh was critical of this case, as it was later determined that a 9mm pistol found at the scene was not fired, and the person Prioleau was purportedly shooting at has never been found.
Kavanagh flagrantly made an indictment of monstrosity toward the police involved, saying:
“The night Nasheem Prioleau was killed, there was definitely a gun battle, because people including myself heard the gunfire all over Brooklyn. Turns out it was just from one side — the police.”
Only four hours after the interaction with Nasheem Prioleau, officers in the Bronx shot a man suspected of firing a gun at subway station.
He survived, as he was only hit in the shoulder and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
On October 17th, a driver pulled over in the Bronx for not wearing a seat belt was shot after police stated that he was attempting to utilize the car as a weapon against the officers, shifting it back and forth while they were in its path. Police later said they found drugs in his car.
That makes three of the officers involved shootings as being faced with guns themselves, one where a vehicle was allegedly maneuvered to potentially strike officers, and one where assault with a deadly weapon against an officer led to the suspect being shot. Taking those scenarios and details into account is crucial prior to just trying to claim cops are murdering innocent people.
Dermot Shea, who will be the police commissioner in December this year, sent a clear message to those who like to attack cops:
“Policing is a difficult job, and that’s nothing new. Let me let me be firm: We have zero tolerance for any attacks on our officers.”
With words like that, we can stand behind Shea as well.
To provide some more context, we want to share with you an article from last week to give you a taste of what’s happening in NYC. It was all going on surrounding President Trump’s visit, which was met with massive protests by many of the same petulant children demanding that police be banned from the city as well.
Trump is coming to NYC.
And the protest at Madison Square Garden has begun. pic.twitter.com/LvbuuljFjy
— Joshua Potash 🆘 (@JoshuaPotash) November 2, 2019
Among them… countless people here illegally who are demanding that President Trump, who is ACTUALLY here legally, leave.
Trump protest in NYC.
Now singing: “We won’t live in a fascist USA” pic.twitter.com/ZapuWoq1Uu
— Joshua Potash 🆘 (@JoshuaPotash) November 3, 2019
It’s been a busy weekend for these trolls. Yesterday, they flooded the city, breaking countless laws and calling for attacks on law enforcement.
Tonight hundreds of people in Brooklyn marched to protest NYPD violence against Black and Brown people in the subway and on the streets. People chanted: “Shut this racist system down!” pic.twitter.com/saGLwmnGib
— nyc law grrrl (@nyclawgrrrl) November 2, 2019
In a display of complete and utter disregard for the law, protestors in Brooklyn decided to overwhelm the NYC subway system, without paying. And an elected official took to social media to support them.
More than 1,000 protesters filled the streets of Brooklyn on Friday evening chanting “no justice, no peace” in response to videos that showed New York Police Department (NYPD) officers fighting with teens inside subway stations.
Shortly before 9 p.m. on Friday evening, hundreds of protesters flooded Brooklyn subway stations in a “mass fare evasion” to protest what they call the criminalization of poverty.
Protesters jump turnstiles and occupy Hoyt-Shermerhorn subway station in protest of #NYPD and #MTA after 19 yr old Adrian Napier was held at gun point through the subway cart windows as commuters screamed and ran for cover. by police on Franklin Ave station. #BLM pic.twitter.com/ACUc27PsW7
— @SCOOTERCASTER (@ScooterCasterNY) November 2, 2019
The first incident the group was protesting was a video showing NYPD officers responding to break up a fight between two groups of teenagers on the platform of the Jay Street- MetroTech subway station.
The video showed a police officer punching one teen and taking a swing at another in the middle of the melee. The same video showed the teenagers pushing and swinging at the officers on scene.
Several teens were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and assaulting a police officer.
After the cell phone video of the fight was posted to social media, anti-police activists were furious and demanded action.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has, in what will surprise no one, called for the termination of the officer who punched the teens in the video.
“To me, he went beyond the call of duty,” Adams said. “You’re not in a boxing match. That is not the goal and what I saw in that video is clearly outside of any training that I ever received in the police department. He took a chaotic situation that police had under control and he almost turned it into a riot situation based on his actions.”
Correct. It isn’t a boxing match. But when you have numerous volatile youth circling around you, you have to perceive any aggressive movement as a threat and respond accordingly.
NYPD released a statement that said the officer who punched the teen had been put on desk duty pending the resolution of an investigation into the incident.
The second incident was captured on video at the Franklin Street subway stop just a few miles away.
I'm leaving the tweets up because BLM organizers were involved in the event. BLM has a loose structure and this event is part of the broader BLM movement. pic.twitter.com/fsWTNGfXdK
— barely informed with elad 🕵🏻♂️ (@elaadeliahu) November 2, 2019
The video showed police outside a stopped subway car with its doors still closed, and passengers moving away from the part of the car where the cell phone camera was focused.
In case you’re wondering how an arrest in NYC goes down. The guy has made absolutely no indication that he would flee or fight and wasn’t trying to hide.
If you can’t see, the reason everyone moved was because all the police had taken out their guns and aimed at him. pic.twitter.com/dAstrtMntz
— Elad Nehorai (@PopChassid) October 25, 2019
In the video, at least one officer on the platform can be seen pointing a gun at the window of the occupied subway car.
Once the train cleared, a young man was sat alone on a seat facing the officers outside the subway car, with both of his hands in the air.
After a moment, the doors of the train car opened and two officers rushed in and took the teen to the ground, the video showed.
Then no less than 10 additional officers rushed into the subway car, several with their guns drawn or just starting to return their weapons to their holsters.
“In case you’re wondering how an arrest in NYC goes down,” Elad Nehorai captioned the video he posted to Twitter. “The guy has made absolutely no indication that he would flee or fight and wasn’t trying to hide.”
For the record Elad, when you get a call of a suspect who is possibly armed, it changes the rules of engagement. You do not engage that suspect with flowers and candy.
Straight from @decolonize_this
— rafael (@rafaelshimunov) November 2, 2019
NYPD defended the officer in a statement and said that police had chased the suspect – 19-year-old Adrian Napier – into the Pacific Street subway station after a witness reported that he had brandished a gun near Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, the New York Post reported.
— Fille De Sankofa (@Gem_FromWA) November 1, 2019
No gun was found on Napier when he was arrested, but NYPD said the suspect is a known member of the Crips street gang and has been arrested 14 times in the past for crimes including assault, robbery, and grand larceny.
“How do you spell racist? NYPD” pic.twitter.com/685oKMf7fZ
— barely informed with elad 🕵🏻♂️ (@elaadeliahu) November 2, 2019
Napier was charged with theft of services for jumping a turnstile and taken in for questioning in an unrelated larceny case, the New York Post reported.
The demonstration began on Friday evening in Brooklyn’s McLaughlin Park and spread through the borough as hundreds more joined.
BLM protesters express their displeasure with the NYPD pic.twitter.com/oItdvjfpF1
— barely informed with elad 🕵🏻♂️ (@elaadeliahu) November 2, 2019
As people began posting the protest on social media, everyone’s favorite “let’s abolish ICE” representative began chiming in.
To no one’s surprise, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez inserted her unwanted and ill-formed opinion and, once again, shows her hatred for cops.
Ending mass incarceration means challenging a system that jails the poor to free the rich.
Arresting people who can’t afford a $2.75 fare makes no one safer and destabilizes our community.
New Yorkers know that, they’re not having it, and they’re standing up for each other. https://t.co/asvidIe5zV
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 2, 2019
On Saturday, she gave her backing to the anti-police protest.
“Ending mass incarceration means challenging a system that jails the poor to free the rich,” the liberal, socialist, freshman congresswoman tweeted, reposting a video of protesters jumping subway turnstiles in Brooklyn Friday night.
“How do you spell racist? N-Y-P-D,” protesters in the video chant. But the anti-cop chants heard in the video didn’t prevent Ocasio-Cortez from lending her support to their actions.
“Arresting people who can’t afford a $2.75 fare makes no-one safer and destabilizes our community,” she said. “New Yorkers know that. They’re not having it and they’re standing up for each other.”
Other videos and imagesfrom the same protest that were not shared by Ocasio-Cortez showed banners that said: “Punch that cop!” “Don’t let these pigs touch us, ever again!” and “Hit em!”
— Jonathan Stamper-Halpin🏳️🌈 (@Joda308) November 1, 2019
The New York Post reported that a group of demonstrators later surrounded a nearby MTA bus and vandalized it with slogans such as “F—k NYPD” and “NYPD KKK.”
We already know that the NYPD is charged with arresting fare jumpers. We also know that the DA’s office refuses to prosecute.
Case in point: A Brooklyn man was arrested for the 18th time for subway “surfing” crimes. Police say that his actions have caused hundreds of delays for commuters. And his reward for his 18th arrest for the same offense? He was released without bail.
Isaiah Thompson, 23, was arrested most recently last Friday He turned himself in after he was spotted riding on the outside of a train near Manhattan’s Union Square.
Thompson was “subway surfing” outside a northbound 5 train when witnesses at the Union Square station spotted him and alerted authorities. NYPD officials said.
Police held Thompson in custody until Sunday when he was arraigned before a judge in Manhattan Criminal Court. He pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment and criminal trespassing and was released.
Turned himself in yet pleaded not guilty.
Protests in NYC be like 🗣🗣😂😂😂 https://t.co/zsHa1zPhvf
— Lovemadona (@Lovemadona1) November 3, 2019
As of his most recent arrest, Thompson was still facing charges for similar crimes for which he was arrested in May. He is also accused of pulling the emergency brake on a northbound 2 train during the evening rush hour in Manhattan, causing delays for thousands of commuters.
NYPD has pushed for restrictions on individuals who have committed multiple offenses on New York City subways. They said Thompson shouldn’t be allowed to freely roam the transit system.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said Thompson remains free to enter subway stations and trains at will.
The Riders Alliance, a public transit-improvement advocacy group, cautioned against barring people from the subway system.
“We don’t support banning people from public space,” they said in a statement.
Never mind the fact that he is putting himself and others in danger. Forget the fact that his actions are causing hundreds of delays.