NYPD Shoots another innocent – but it’s not negligence this time.

It was, however, fatal.

Dramatic security video released by police shows the uniformed officer, his gun drawn, positioned outside the Bronx shop’s front door moments after a 911 call. In a flash, the store manager rushes out the door. Closely behind with his head down is Renaldo Cuevas, who runs full speed into the officer, sending both men tumbling to the sidewalk.

A pool of blood appears to form on the ground the instant Cuevas lands on his back. The officer is kneeling and pointing his semiautomatic at Cuevas when the video clip ends.

I may catch flak for this, but because of how things happened, this looks to be truly an accident, not negligence. I can’t even call a Rule 3 violation, here, given the situation. From the surveillance video, it’s obvious that something from the other direction spooked the officer so that, while he was still monitoring the door next to him, his attention was mainly focused in the other direction.  So when the robbery victims ran out of the shop, he was completely surprised by them and was ready to shoot. The fact that he didn’t shoot either person intentionally is a testament to his restraint, but he didn’t have time to transition from “ready to shoot” mode when the second robbery victim came out the door and ran into him (seriously, watch the video – if you blink, you can miss it). His finger was likely still on the trigger, and the impact either hit just right to manipulate the gun in his hand so the trigger was pulled, or it triggered the officer’s “monkey grip” reflex and he pulled the trigger in the process.

This is a tragedy, but it looks like the only ones at fault are the robbers for creating the situation in the first place. I can’t blame the officer this time. Fortunately, the suspects are in custody, and are facing murder charges.

END OF LINE

[Source: AP article on Yahoo! News, retrieved 9/8/12]

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