Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New York's "Shoot to Wound" Proposal

New York police officers are outraged at a proposal by Brooklyn Assembly Members Annette Robinson [D.-Bedford Stuyvesant] and Darryl Towns [D.-East New YorkMichael Paladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association that would require police officers to shoot to wound, rather than kill, a suspect.

The New York Post article is here.

This proposal has come up before and been defeated each time.  It returns now as a reaction to the shooting of Sean Bell in 2006. 

The reality is that this proposal is impossible to implement or enforce.  Police officers are trained to shoot "center mass" in order to stop the threat.  To expect them to be sharp shooters in the heat of intense conflict and be able to kneecap a suspect or shoot a gun out of someone's hand is simply ridiculous.

PoliceOne has two informative articles on the proposal and how impossible it is and potentially unsustainable:

A shoot-to-wound mandate would “not be valid legally” because it sets a standard far beyond that established by Graham v. Connor, the benchmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on police use of force, says former prosecutor Jeff Chudwin, now chief of the Olympia Fields (IL) PD and president of the Illinois Tactical Officers Assn.
Dr. Bill Lewinski of the Force Science Institute also explains to PoliceOne the practical problems with this proposal:

“Hands and arms can be the fastest-moving body parts. For example, an average suspect can move his hand and forearm across his body to a 90-degree angle in 12/100 of a second. He can move his hand from his hip to shoulder height in 18/100 of a second.

“The average officer pulling the trigger as fast as he can on a Glock, one of the fastest- cycling semi-autos, requires 1/4 second to discharge each round.

“There is no way an officer can react, track, shoot and reliably hit a threatening suspect’s forearm or a weapon in a suspect’s hand in the time spans involved.

There's more here.

It seems we're placing more burden on the peacekeepers and less on the criminals.  The police are charged with the responsibility of protecting the public and if that means stopping a guy waving a gun around in his tracks, so be it. Police officers make mistakes because they're human, but overall they put their lives on the line to protect yours.

Coincidentally, a Harlem police officer encountered an armed teenager hanging out on the streets at 1:30 a.m. yesterday.  The kid shot at the officer who responded with five rounds, one hitting the kid in the arm.  The kid ran off, the officer followed the blood trail and apprehended him.

Sometimes it's a judgment call, I suspect.  The officer instantly has to judge the threat and the threat to others.  And as Michael Paladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association told the Post,

"I don't know of any criminal who doesn't shoot to kill. They are not bound by any restrictions."

The proposal came up before the Codes Committee but has been held for further consideration.  


Red said...

Whoever the idiot was that thought of this has been watching too many cop shows and action movies.

G.R. said...

Once again liberals who know nothing about the subject at hand but thinks he/she knows more about it than the ones who actually does the job.

Theories work great on paper but are usually worthless in reality. Liberals don't understand this.