Click here for video taken by a bystander in September. It shows New York’s [allegedly] finest circling and firing at a deranged man in the middle of Times Square…while many hundreds of other bystanders watch from the sidewalks. The NYPD is no stranger to piss-poor marksmanship, but the Bad Shots In Blue really outdid themselves this time. The cops went zero-for-three when they shot at Glenn Broadnax from short range, but they did manage to shoot two innocent bystanders for an unintentional hit rate of 66%. Broadnax was unarmed, although he may have appeared to be reaching for a weapon instead of reaching for his wallet. Instead of charging the trigger-happy oafs of the NYPD, though, the D.A. convened a grand jury and charged Broadnax with first degree assault, a felony charge that can carry a 25-year sentence . . .
More details are provided by the NY Times:
Initially Mr. Broadnax was arrested on misdemeanor charges of menacing, drug possession and resisting arrest. But the Manhattan district attorney’s office persuaded a grand jury to charge Mr. Broadnax with assault, a felony carrying a maximum sentence of 25 years. Specifically, the nine-count indictment unsealed on Wednesday said Mr. Broadnax “recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death.”
“The defendant is the one that created the situation that injured innocent bystanders,” said an assistant district attorney, Shannon Lucey.
Wrong, you twit. It’s the NYPD that created the situation that injured innocent bystanders, by failing to properly train OR properly supervise OR properly discipline its officers. As has been amply proven by a string of bad shootings and injured bystanders, these uniformed clowns rarely know when to shoot and they sure as hell don’t know how to shoot. Those responsible for allowing Bloomberg’s private army to roam the streets with guns should be brought up on criminal charges of their own.
Broadnax appears to be charged with first degree assault under the ‘depraved indifference’ prong of NY Penal Law Section 120.10: “A person is guilty of assault in the first degree when, under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person, and thereby causes serious physical injury to another person.”
Assistant D.A. Lucey’s legal reasoning here is somewhere between chilling and just plain hallucinatory. First off, ‘depraved indifference’ requires an absolute lack of care whether other people die or not. It has never, to my knowledge, been applied to behavior which could only foreseeably hurt oneself. Secondly, wandering into low-speed traffic (it was Times Square, after all) does not foreseeably create a grave risk of death to others; just to your own sorry ass. Finally, it was not Broadnax who caused serious physical injury to another person. It was the negligence and incompetence of the NYPD officers who did that.
Let’s take Lucey’s asinine arguments to their logical conclusion, shall we? Any time a police car or ambulance crashes and someone is injured while responding to an accident or crime, the person who caused the initial 911 call would be guilty of felony assault for setting it all in motion. No matter how minor their misconduct, and no matter how recklessly the police or EMTs drove.
The case against Broadnax doesn’t even hold water as a matter of civil liability, much less criminal culpability. If the NYPD’s gunshot victims tried to sue Broadnax for their injuries they would lose, because their injuries would not have happened but for an unforeseeable intervening factor: the incredibly poor shooting and poor judgment of the NYPD. Unless, of course, the D.A. is taking the novel legal position that NYPD incompetence is so widespread and predictable that it has become an entirely foreseeable response to any 911 call. Even after the shooting of nine bystanders in front of the Empire State Building, I’m not sure the NYPD is quite that bad, and even if they are that’s no good reason to let them off the hook for it.
This affair started out badly, with incompetent police missing their target and hosing down a sidewalk full of bystanders. Now the Manhattan District Attorney has taken us all further down the rabbit-hole of NYC police incompetence, and charged an unarmed man for shootings committed by police officers. The real reason for these charges is pitifully transparent: to distract attention (and civil liability) away from the incompetence of New York’s allegedly finest.