Echoing an incident last year outside New York’s Empire State Building when the police, in pursuit of a gunman opened gunfire and caused the majority of casualties in the crowded area, NYPD have once again shot bystanders in Midtown Manhattan.
Two bystanders were hit by NYPD bullets Saturday night, while the police target — a man believed to have a weapon — was missed.
The two shot casualties were taken to hospital and are reportedly both in stable conditions. The original suspect, described by police as “emotionally disturbed” was Tasered and taken in to police custody, where no weapons were found on his person.
As in last August’s incident — in which cops fired multiple rounds to take down one assailant, injuring nine bystanders in the process — Saturday night’s shooting the shooting prompts questions about police operation of firearms. According the most recent NYPD Firearms Discharge Reports (available for 2010 and 2011) issued by the police, recent years have seen the lowest recorded number of police firearm discharges, despite a string of grave incidents, including the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Ramarley Graham in the Bronx and 16-year-old Kimani Gray in Brooklyn. Both shootings bolstered anti-police sentiment around the city and brought angry protests into the streets.