P.I. Pulse: More Police Negligence Results in Shootings, Injuries and Death
It seems as though indiscriminate or negligent shootings by police have been popping up in the news rather frequently recently. This should give us pause, given that the police are supposed to be out on the streets working to protect the population – who would have thought that we would need to look out for protection because of the threat from police? Two instances of police shootings this September have caused outrage across the nation, and not because of their status as an anomaly. These atrocities can happen anywhere – in suburban areas such as residential streets in North Carolina or densely populated tourist attractions such as Times Square in New York City. With this blog, we are going to shed some light on the legal recourse the victims of these shootings might be able to pursue.
This month, in North Carolina, police responded to a 911 call in Charlotte. The caller had told the dispatcher that a man was consistently banging on the front door. When the police arrived, they saw a man quickly approaching them. One of the responding officers shot at the man coming toward them with a stun gun, but the shot was ineffective. So, the another police officer drew his gun – his lethal gun – and shot at the man. Several times. Killing him. After the fact, it turned out that the man may have been approaching the police seeking help, following a car crash he had been involved in. (His crashed car, found right near the scene of his shooting, indicates that he might have been looking for assistance). Police now contend that after the now-deceased man climbed through the window of his destroyed vehicle, he ran to the closest home for help, and the owner of that home called the police reporting banging on the door. The three policemen who responded to the scene have been placed on leave, and the one who fired the deadly shot(s) has been charged with voluntary manslaughter. According to the police department, the officer did not have a “lawful right” to fire his gun during the encounter (http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/15/justice/north-carolina-police-shooting/index.html).
Police have essentially admitted that the shooting was not legal, and this will pave the way for a rather straight-forward wrongful death case to be brought against the shooting officer and the department by the family of the deceased man, a former football player at Florida A&M University, who was 24 years old at the time of his unfortunate and unnecessary death.
Up the east coast, in Times Square, NYC, there was another instance of police negligence – albeit this incident was perhaps more understandable than the North Carolina incident. You may remember just last year, when police were attempting to shoot at a suspect outside the Empire State Building, they missed multiple times and ended up injuring many bystanders. Well, this type of inaccuracy seems to have surfaced again in the city that never sleeps. On the night of September 14th, a crazed man was jumping around traffic in Times Square, causing chaos. As police arrived and tried to subdue the man, he eluded their attempts to capture him. Then, reaching into his pocket and then removing his hand, he pretended to shoot at police. Perhaps frightful for their own lives and the lives of the civilians nearby, the police fired at the man thrice. Unfortunately, all bullets missed the deranged traffic-dodger and hit bystanders. Eventually, although the police were able to finally subdue the man with a taser, the incident left innocent bystanders injured by bullet wounds. (Read the New York Times article on this incident at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/16/nyregion/firing-at-man-in-times-square-police-wound-two-bystanders.html?pagewanted=all)
It’s quite possible that those injured by the police shooting will fire civil suits against the responsible officers and/or the NYPD, claiming negligence that resulted in great bodily injury.
If you have questions about these police shootings or any issues of negligence resulting in personal injury, please reach out to us at the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg by calling 561-266-9191 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.