Suicidal NY Woman Sues Cops for Not Shooting Her Properly

Joann Clarke's knives (courtesy

OK, that’s a fairly liberal interpretation of events. Still . . . reports that Joann “no e” Clarke’s boyfriend called the po-po to his Pelham Bay apartment last year, “telling a 911 dispatcher [that] Clarke was emotionally disturbed and ‘might hurt herself.’ Officers found Clarke with steak and carving knives, cutting into her own body before eventually running at one of them with a knife in hand, according to a published report.” So an unnamed officer (of course) shot her. And missed . . .

That’s when one of the officers fired his weapon, hitting the 43-year-old in the leg in the March 2012 incident. Clarke claims the officers were negligent, “unfit, incompetent and/or improperly or insufficiently trained,” according to a Bronx Supreme Court suit filed this month.

Missed center mass, that is. She forgot to mention the role played—again, still—by the mandatory 11-lbs “New York Trigger” on New York’s Finests’ Glock. If you can hit what you’re aiming at with that “revolver” like trigger pull whilst experiencing a full adrenal dump you’re a better man than I Gunga Din.

Hey, anyone seem The Incredibles?


  1. avatar Cameron S. says:

    Incompetence at its finest. And these are the people who just earned their own carve out.

    1. avatar Jeff says:

      How many real-world shootings have you been in?

      1. avatar SnJohnson says:

        Agreed. Shooting a floating piece of paper with your range toy and shooting under stress with a politically correct gun are two entirely different worlds. My money says you couldn’t even shoot strait after jogging 50 meters.

        1. avatar Joe says:

          My money says I can’t even jog 50 meters….but I’m fat, and I digress…. Just because he can’t do it doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be allowed to criticize… I can’t drive a truck but curse them out on the highway all the time.

      2. avatar Steve O says:

        So Jeff, how many have you been in Mr. self righteous?

        1. avatar Jeff says:

          One, which, as it turns out, is exactly how many you need to have been in to know that guys like Cameron S. don’t know what they’re talking about.

      3. avatar jerry says:

        He has been in zero real-world shootings, like many on here he believes being a badass at the range is the same as attempting to hit an armed and homicidal assailant who is attempting to ventilate your liver.

      4. avatar The Blue Angel says:

        Blow it out your ass, Douchey McBuzzKill.

  2. avatar shawn says:

    “Seen”, yes I have.

    1. avatar Will says:

      “Seen,” Yup… I think I even own the DVD version.

  3. avatar Bret says:

    She’s suing the cops for using deadly force when she lunged at them with a knife. That’s a justifiable shoot for non police. This lady is dumb.

    1. avatar Charles5 says:

      In most jurisdictions, it is justifiable for the cops to use deadly force if you have a sign that says “Beware of Dog”…I mean, come on, the officers might have a heart attack just thinking about a dog coming at them.

      1. avatar Bret says:

        That’s a different ball game. If you’re carrying and crazy lady charges you with a knife, what’s your reaction?

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Remember the 21 foot drill.

  4. avatar In Memphis says:

    Off topic but how much would an aftermarket NY trigger cost me? Im strangley curious to hit the range with one in my Glock.

    1. avatar Sean Cronin says:

      Probably about $20-30 for everything. Regular Glock triggers are wretched. One of those is just awful and pointless.

      1. avatar In Memphis says:

        Pointless, yea probably but Im deffinatley curious. Maybe it will get me to slow down when I shoot at the range. Like everything else I do, its always in a hurry.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          @In Memphis, MA dealer “safety” regulations require a DA trigger pull of ten pounds. It renders the guns almost unshootable.

    2. avatar OODAloop says:

      NY Trigger 1 (8#) $2.00 –

      NY Trigger 2 (12#) $2.00 –

      Buy both, get a new recoil spring ($7.50-17.00 – they need to be replaced every 5K rounds) and pay one shipping fee…

      1. avatar In Memphis says:

        Thanks. I deffinatley could have done that myself but thanks!

      2. avatar Pascal says:

        The recoil springs on Glocks will run for 15K rounds or more. For CYA, LEO Glock Training says about 3,000K. 5,000K is given often because very few people keep an actual log with round count otherwise change every 15,000-25,000 rounds as a preventative measure. Much will depend on the type of ammo you shoot and many shoot +P.

        I have shot over 25K round in GSSF without a failure, and with a log. While not as critical in competition versus self defense, 5K is not critical.

        1. avatar Accur81 says:

          That’s good, because I’ve got more than 5 K through my Glock 27 and it still runs like a champ.

  5. avatar Dave in WI says:

    Perhaps she should grant the officer “do overs”

    1. avatar Ing says:

      That’s what I was thinking. Why sue when do-overs are free?

  6. avatar jwm says:

    Sometimes a cop just can’t win. We had a local woman, mentally unstable on a good day, fired up on illegal drugs attacking her family with a knife and telling all that would listen that she would kill them and then herself. Some were injured when the police arrived. Lady got shot dead. Police got sued for not taking her alive. The police should have let her wipe out the family and then capped her. That would have been the perfect end to that story.

  7. 11 pounds, whew. What a stupid rule. No wonder they missed. I’m assuming the higher ups think that heavy trigger is “safer”?

    1. avatar superiorposture says:

      It’s because the five-oh bungled their way into a few self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the leg with the lighter triggers. I’m not saying it’s a GOOD idea, but there was actually real world data showing the officers couldn’t handle lighter triggers safely… for themselves.

      A buddy of mine who used to be an officer in NYC brought his service pistol to my property for some afternoon pistol shooting and I can say first hand that it is insane to try to shoot that thing. This particular officer is very into guns and practices with his service piece on his own time/dime, but I was still able to out-shoot him with my Beretta 92FS even though I am just a casual shooter, putting only a few hundred rounds down range in a given year.

      In the end, I agree with your snark in that the “upgraded triggers” couldn’t possibly be safer that what they had.

      1. avatar Bret says:

        That had to do more with officers switching over from revolvers and being used to the heavier trigger.

      2. avatar Russ Bixby says:

        My Nagant M1895 has a SA trigger pull about equivalent to arm-wrestling a longshoreman, and just short of infinity in DA.

        It’s also quite accurate, due to the overall shape of the gun; a bone-crushing (so, you wanna date my daughter?!?) grip doesn’t significantly interfere with aiming.

        Ergonomics matter; I’ll not own a hand weapon that wasn’t designed for the human hand.

        1. avatar sagebrushracer says:

          Yes, my Nagant is my favorite gun to shoot casually, the great ergo and superb accuracy make up for some of its shortcomings.

    2. avatar William Burke says:

      The dumb lady is seeing dollar signs.

  8. avatar Dave357 says:

    The whole business of shooting a person who is trying to hurt himself in the first place is kinda weird, unless he is in the process of trying to hurt someone else. They really ought to think this through and come up with a better procedure.

    1. avatar Bret says:

      She was lunging at them with the knife.

      1. avatar Dave357 says:

        Perhaps they could have retreated. I am not saying I have thought this through, just that it seems incongruous to end up shooting someone who was trying to hurt only himself until the police arrived. It’s like the cure being worse than the disease.

        1. avatar EATENG says:

          So your proposed solution is to have the police ignore the call and not show up? Or show up and do nothing? Guess who gets sued again when the lady either kills herself or family members if the cops did nothing?

  9. avatar Saxit says:

    Here in Sweden it’s quite common that the police shoot perps in the leg. It’s even in the law regulating their use of firearms that they should preferably aim to incapacitate and not to kill. It happens of course that they shoot to kill if they find it necessary but it’s fairly uncommon; we’ve had 17 deaths by police bullets since 1995.

    1. avatar OODAloop says:

      Hmmm. Less than one a year. Wow. Chicago PD kills 1-2 a week…

      1. avatar Clay says:

        Yeah but there is no guns in Sweden. 🙂

        1. avatar Saxit says:

          10th place for number of guns per capita by the 2007 statistics. We have a crapload of hunters. No defensive carry however.

        2. avatar Russ Bixby says:

          Actually, there is a fairly high rate of gun ownership in Sweden – and most Nordic countries.

          Whie a permit is required, it’s basically shall-issue for up to six rifles, ten pistols or eight mix-and-match. A registered collector can have more, and antiques (pre-1891) are exempt.

          Sweden is pretty comfortable with having an armed citizenry, although carrying isn’t part of that.

          If someone has the bad judgement to attempt a robbery in the home, it’s not at all uncommon that a successful DGU will ensue.

        3. avatar Ropingdown says:

          You’re not going to have a pistol around the house in Sweden. The number of long guns starts at 3 with a hunting license and goes up after you’ve behaved for a number of years, to 6 guns, then (I think…) 10.

        4. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

          So do you have the Cartels like the Zeta’s, Mexican Mafia, Sinaloa etc,,,,, or gangs like MS 13, Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, or a diversified uh population in 4 parts where 28% of the population (not white) commit over 75% of the violence?

        5. avatar Saxit says:

          Jarhead we have a fairly good social security net that prevents people from falling too far down into poverty, which lessens the incentive to commit crime. Not saying it’s non existent though… and I live in Malmoe, third largest city here; we have an estimated 40% immigrants or so.

          No gang crime like Chicago though…

    2. avatar Ropingdown says:

      Saxit: I was impressed by the reaction of the Stockholm police authority during the fairly recent police firing on a group of jewelry store burglars. Assuming the official report was accurate, needless firing at a distance with a handgun did endanger the public. Now if they could convince the NYPD….

      1. avatar Saxit says:

        Are you talking about the case where a perp got shot in the head for aiming a Kalashnikov (that turned out to be a soft air gun) at the police? I haven’t seen any reports of that myself but the outcome seems to have been good anyways. ^^

        1. avatar Ropingdown says:

          No. I’m talking about the shooting by a policeman at fleeing jewelry-store burglars in Östermalm, Stockholm, last year. The burglars hadn’t actually fired a gun. The policeman shot more than twelve, eleven of which went through the windows of the Metropolis Gym. The court later ruled that (memory…) four would have been enough. A video of the shooting as it happened became an internet sensation, briefly. (I spend lots of time in Stockholm/Värmdö.) Here’s a link, but it doesn’t cover the later disciplining of the policeman for fairly random shooting:

    3. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

      Aim to incapacitate, so your demanding the Swedish cops be among the best shots in the world, rather unreasonable demand!

      1. avatar Saxit says:

        No but we demand that they are responsible when they use their firearms.

        We’ve had sonen cases with really crappy and reckless shooting, though nothing like that NYPD case last fall (or maybe it was this spring).

        Edit: there was a case last year which also was a jewelry store where an officer fired 18 shots and I think 10 of them went into a gym. No one got hurt though I think. Maybe that was the case you were thinking about?

        1. avatar Saxit says:

          Gah, wrong comment edited.. I blame my iPad and that it’s 3 in the morning…

        2. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

          No different here, but then comes reality.

          That actually targeting to incapacitate is an unnecessary dangerous practice and unless your a world class shooter putting a bullet in a arm, thigh, foot, knee, flesh wound at will in a high stress situation of shooting and being shot at is nigh impossible, making it inherently more likely your round will go down range, leading to more incidental collateral hits on bystanders.

          Its why many SWAT units or Special Ops have alternate less than lethal weapons more and more and even then, they dont aim anywhere but center mass.

          Now if it is a stand off and the perp is stationary, a sniper can and has shot the gun out the perps hands

          Therein is the difference, and the exception, not the rule!

  10. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    I see lots of comments here from people who apparently didn’t read the story, just being derisive once they see the word “police.”

    There’s no law guaranteeing that suicide-by-cop will work or that an N.Y. cop will live down to the stereotype.

    Kudos to the officer in question for successfully employing the minimum necessary force, however unfortunate it might be that (s)he did not in fact dispatch this waste of skin and save the taxpayers some court time.

  11. avatar Martin B says:

    A shot in the leg can hit the femoral artery, a shot in the arm can hit the brachial artery. In both cases the shot person (can’t say “victim”, they’re the perpetrator) can die within minutes anyway. A determined attacker will continue even if fatally wounded. Point at centre mass and keep firing until they stop. A crazed person who has decided to take your life, and has the means and opportunity to do it, no longer deserves consideration as to their own life. A police officer has a duty to protect their own life as well as the public. Stopping a dangerous lunatic with a weapon as quickly as possible is their prime duty. The New York trigger is yet another administrative measure to counteract the real problem – the lack of ammunition and training time for regular police. The top cops are not police, never have been. They are politicians, with PR as their main concern. The large number of missses by NY police over the years demonstrates clearly the ineffectiveness of the NY trigger, and the real danger tourists face if they are anywhere near a crime scene. The 6 P’s address this. (Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance). The NYC police chiefs shut down their robbery unit (which very successful) in the early 70’s because the vast majority of shot felons were black, and the top cops didn’t want the Sharpton political fallout. Stopping crime as it happens is very messy and violent. It always is and always will be.

  12. avatar Ropingdown says:

    In some sense the woman makes sense: The cop missed. Were he an accurate shooter he would have hit her in the ass, to reciprocate the location of the pain she inflicts.

  13. avatar Dave S says:

    guys its all about the money!
    the suit is going for “negligent training, negligent retention, negligent supervision” of the officers.
    since the report doesnt mention any further injuries or damage from the misplaced round, will probably not go beyond throwing some cash to buy off the attny.

    And if you can always draw and fire, hitting center of mass on a person you are trying to help, then you are a much colder person with superhuman reflexes then most humans.

  14. avatar Lance says:

    AHHH NY the only state where law abiding are stripped of rights of defense Cops are blindfolded and gagged from doing there job. And the criminals run free to murder and mayhem as Bloomberg loves and if any one stops them they get sued!!!!!

  15. avatar Chaotic Good says:

    Cops missing their target is nothing new, even if the NYPD trigger made it worse. From 1996 to 2006, the police in New York only hit their target about 34 percent of the time.

    I blame poor training and the reality that a self-defense shooting is nothing like target practice. You’re afraid. It may be dark. You may be injured. That is why, surprise surprise, you may need 15 rounds to save your life.

  16. avatar ST says:

    Perhaps this is a good thing. Maybe if the city is sued for bad shooting skills, perhaps the NYPD might actually invest in proper training.

    The problem is not the 11+ pound trigger pull. The issue is that NYPD only qualifies with 100 rounds per year total. 50 rounds are “practice”, 50 rounds actual qualifying. 39 hits equals passing score.

    A person who only shoots 100 rounds a year is not ready to carry a pistol, no matter their profession.

  17. avatar BRBruce says:

    I’d be willing to bet that this woman has a mental record and should have been put away to stay years ago.

  18. avatar Mediocrates says:

    What’s better than disarming the Yankees to begin with? Making it impossible for those that do have weapons to hit what they are aiming at.

  19. avatar Accur81 says:

    Hate me if’n you want, but if I’m being charged by a lady with a knife, I’m shooting multiple rounds center mass until the threat stops. I may resort to head shots as well. The story in the Ny Post didn’t have many details, so I’m not sure if the officer missed a center mass shot or intentionally targeted the leg to stop the threat with a minimum of force. It would be helpful to know more details. As in the past, I’m not inclined with or vilify the officer in a shooting without a clearer picture of what happened.

    Dealing with suicidal people is a pain in the a$$, and I’m not giving up my life or someone that of someone else without a fight. I’ve already decided that if someone forces me to take their life, I’m prepared to deal with that decision. I’ve also seen people jump off bridges and over crossings that weren’t high enough to cause death. Not pretty.

    1. avatar EATENG says:

      I’m certain just about everyone here would shoot any assailant with a knife as many times it took to stop him/her. But like you said, we don’t know if the officer was intentionally aiming at the leg or missed his intended shot. Either way, if the first shot hitting her leg dropped her, and the officer stopped shooting because she was down, I don’t see anything inappropriate.

  20. avatar ZM 1306 says:

    They should have an officer put one in her head if she wants to be shot properly. That would be a out of court settlement right?

  21. avatar Doc 03911 says:

    She should go after Glock as well. s/

  22. avatar PCnotPC says:

    I still don’t understand why we feel the need to stop people from committing suicide. If someone wants to remove themselves from the shallow end of the gene pool, we should do everything in our power to let and/or help them accomplish their task.

    Now it is going to cost the good citizens of New York out the wazoo to prosecute this waste of skin for assaulting an officer and to defend themselves from a frivolous lawsuit filed by same.


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