People on Twitter are criticizing the hell out of the NYPD for the Friday shootout in front of the Empire State Building that left nine people wounded by police bullets or ricocheting fragments.
I have criticized the hell out of the NYPD for the way it has treated the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Today I’m put in the weird position of defending the NYPD.
Did any of you see the fifteen-second surveillance footage that was released?
Let me show you some screensnaps from it.
Here you will see the shooter. He has just pulled his gun and turned towards the two NYPD who were swiftly walking behind him. Notice the guy I’ve circled in red on the bench. He hasn’t yet noticed what’s really happening. The NYPD do not have their guns drawn, either.
The gun is clearly visible to NYPD 1, who has swiveled and probably yelled “GUN!” NYPD 1’s adrenaline has just rammed his body like a Mack truck. The guy on the bench can clearly tell shit is going down and he begins to get up. Notice how many bystanders are still just milling! NYPD 2 still looks like his gun has not been drawn.
Just two of the men on the bench start to run like hell. NYPD 1 has pulled his gun. NYPD 2 looks like he is going for his. And two of the red circled bystanders are still not fully reacting.
NYPD 1 and 2 have their guns drawn and are probably screaming at the shooter to drop the gun. The guy is still on the damn bench and two of the bystanders have still not moved out of the frame.
The shooting by NYPD 1 commences. One bystander is still in frame clearly panicked from the shooting. NYPD 2 is moving to the side because he realized he and NYPD 1 were clumped together in the line of fire and he could not get off a clean shot.
The shooter’s knees go from an aggressive stance to slumping forward as the bullets hit him. And the woman is still in the frame!
As the bullets from NYPD 1 and 2 enter his body, the shooter’s knees give out. And that woman bystander is still in the frame! Along with another bystander!
The shooter falls to the ground. NYPD 2 is out of frame but that new bystander is still in it.
From the time the NYPD saw the gun to the shooter going down was six seconds.
Look at how slowly the bystanders reacted.
In six seconds, unarmed people in fear of their lives could not flee the scene.
In six seconds, NYPD were faced with a gun pointing at them from someone in a suit. NYPD don’t expect people in suits to pull guns on them. Their bosses wear suits. The violent criminals they deal with daily don’t wear suits.
The NYPD had to be alerted to the shooting by a construction worker. They did not hear it, otherwise they would have immediately run towards it. That’s how much noise there is in midtown Manhattan. A shooting that takes place just around the corner has all sound swallowed up by everything else.
Despite being told the guy in a suit shot someone, what NYPD sees is a suit. There is no gun. There is a suit: a symbol of both obedience and of power. They are not going to run up to someone in a suit who isn’t showing a gun with their own guns drawn.
Once it’s clear there is a gun, their reaction is swift.
They shout for him to drop the gun and he doesn’t.
You don’t stand there shouting over and over at someone to drop a gun.
You fucking shoot him.
This isn’t TV.
This isn’t a movie.
This is probably your final seconds alive if that guy with a gun uses it.
You don’t know if that gun is empty. You don’t know if that gun has one bullet or fifty. You don’t know if that gun is automatic.
And you don’t care.
It’s a gun. Pointed at you.
So you shoot that son of a bitch.
And you shoot until he hits the ground.
And again: This isn’t TV or a movie. He’s not standing there with his chest square with your gun. He’s turned more to the side, making a considerably narrower target.
So of course some damn bullets are going to miss.
For all of you with heads full of TV and movie cops, have you ever seen them shoot at a practice target that showed a profile of a criminal? The target is always standing square-on with the cop’s gun. And while the TV/movie cop is shooting, both the cop and the target are standing still.
So all of you people on Twitter criticizing this shooting, get fucking real.
None of you apparently stopped to analyze the tape of the shooting.
None of you ever thought of what it’d be like to face a gun like that.
And all of you would have been like the bystanders who couldn’t get the hell out of the way in six seconds.
As far as I’m concerned, even with the bystanders who were wounded, it was good shooting, NYPD.
Job well done.
Update, Sunday August 26, 2012:
The gunman who killed a former co-worker on a Manhattan sidewalk Friday was shot five times in the head by police, the New York Medical Examiner’s office said Sunday.
Two officers responding to the shooting fired 16 rounds in the shadow of the Empire State Building at a disgruntled former apparel designer, killing him after he engaged in a gunbattle with police, authorities said. Jeffrey Johnson, 58, died from the five bullets to his head, and also suffered “a graze wound to the chest, but nothing that would have killed him,” said Ellen Borakove, the medical examiner’s spokeswoman.
One officer shot nine rounds and the other shot seven.
Shots to his head. Do you know how small a target the human head is? There should be no criticism of this shooting at all. Five to the head is magnificent shooting.
I should have known better than to trust CNN, which botched the live reporting of the Sikh temple shooting.
I will never trust CNN news coverage ever again.