View Full Version : Shoot to Wound" Bill Offered in NY

02-24-2006, 06:04 PM
Shoot to Wound" Bill Offered in NY

Updated: February 24th, 2006 12:20 PM EDT

E-mail Story Print Story Most Read Most Emailed

New York Sun

A push by Eliot Spitzer's gubernatorial running mate, David Paterson, to restrict police officers from using deadly physical force in the line of fire has opened a rift between the Harlem state senator and the state attorney general.

Yesterday, Mr. Spitzer, the leading Democratic candidate for governor, disavowed a bill introduced by Mr. Paterson that would prohibit police officers from shooting suspects with the intent to kill and would hold the officers liable for second-degree manslaughter, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

"Eliot is not in favor of this revision to the penal code," the campaign manager for Mr. Spitzer, Ryan Toohey, said. "When David agreed to be Eliot's running mate, we knew they wouldn't be in lockstep agreement with each other. That's part of how good relationships work."

Mr. Paterson's bill, which is intended to protect minority criminal suspects from being killed by police officers unnecessarily, has provoked a furious reaction from New York State and city police groups, which say the senator's legislation would handcuff police officers and ultimately leave the public in greater danger.

Conceivably, under Mr. Paterson's law, the heralded police officer who killed the man who shot to death City Council Member James Davis on July 23, 2003, would be indicted for second-degree manslaughter.

Police groups also point to the recent slew of shootings, some of them fatal, of New York City police officers as evidence of the need for policeman to have the leeway to use deadly force to protect themselves.

The head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, which represents 10,000 active and retired New York City police sergeants, yesterday described Mr. Paterson's bill as "lunacy."

"It's poor judgment on the part of Paterson to even initiate something like this," said the president of the association, Edward Mullins, who said he was writing a letter to Mr. Paterson denouncing the bill.

"In light of the police shootings and terrorism, why in the world would you create a bill that would actually tie the hands of police officers?... I see lunacy in creating a bill like this," he said. The heads of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police and the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association also have criticized Mr. Paterson's bill, the Daily News reported.

Mr. Paterson, an influential black politician who has served as the senate's minority leader since 2002 and who was tapped by Mr. Spitzer to be the attorney general's lieutenant governor running mate last month, is seeking to amend the state penal code by putting severe restrictions on the amount of force police officers can use in the course of defending themselves from bodily harm, or detaining a suspect who is resisting arrest or trying to escape.

Under Mr. Paterson's legislation, police officers would be permitted to use the minimal amount of force to "needed to stop" a suspect. For instance, according to the bill memo, an officer who is under attack would be required to shoot a suspect in the leg or arm if such actions would stop the suspect from harming the officer or escaping.

"Further, the number of times an officer shoots a person should not exceed the minimal number necessary to stop the person. If one shot accomplishes the purpose, it is neither necessary or appropriate for an officer to empty his barrel," the bill memo states.

The Daily News reported that Mr. Paterson authored the bill in reaction to the acquittals in 2000 of four police officers who shot and killed an unarmed West African immigrant, Amadou Diallo, firing 41 bullets and striking Diallo 19 times. The incident was triggered when a police officer mistook a black wallet Diallo was carrying for a gun.

"There is no justification for terminating another's life when a less extreme measure may accomplish the same objective," the bill memo states.

As the law stands, a police officer can use deadly physical force if a suspect is trying to kill him and the officer cannot safely retreat. An officer is also permitted to kill a suspect who is resisting arrest for a felony involving the use of physical force against a person. An officer is also permitted to kill a suspect who is attempting to escape and possesses a firearm or deadly weapon.

Moments after the Othniel Askew shot and fatally wounded Council Member Davis in the balcony of City Council chambers, the officer, Richard Burt, took aim from below amid the chaos and fired a reported six shots at Askew, striking him four times and killing him instantly. Mayor Bloomberg promoted Mr. Burt to detective and declared him a city hero who saved many lives.

Mr. Burt would be guilty of manslaughter if a jury found that he fired more bullets than he needed to stop Askew or could have stopped him without actually killing him.

A spokesman for Mr. Paterson did not return calls for comment yesterday.

Since Mr. Spitzer announced Mr. Paterson as his running mate, other sharp policy differences have emerged between the two politicians. In particular, Mr. Paterson has said he opposes the death penalty for "spiritual reasons," even for convicted terrorists, while Mr. Spitzer is a proponent of capital punishment. Mr. Paterson has also said he favors tax increases that Mr. Spitzer opposes.

A close observer of Albany politics, Alan Chartock, a SUNY professor of political science emeritus, said he doesn't view Mr. Paterson's bill as a political liability for Mr. Spitzer.

"This is a rather refreshing change from the Pataki administration, where everybody has to march in lockstep," he said. "If it were the other way around, it could be a problem. Everybody knows the governor is the key decision maker in this."

02-24-2006, 06:14 PM
You may be a little late on this one as it was posted yesterday....:)

02-24-2006, 07:49 PM
just got it today sorry

x-ray 4
03-22-2006, 11:39 AM
just got it today sorry
This guy is an Uninformed idiot!

x-ray 4
03-22-2006, 11:42 AM
This guy is an Uninformed idiot!
Department policy:shoot to stop.( If suspect dies from this action--bad day at the office for him)

03-23-2006, 10:09 PM
Originally Posted by VACOP1
just got it today sorry

This guy is an Uninformed idiot!

I hope that comment was not for me

04-07-2006, 06:30 AM
Typical Liberal nonsense. Sometimes I just wonder how these people get elected.