On Thursday night in Brooklyn a person was shot for no reason by the police:
Two police officers prepared to enter the pitch-black eighth-floor stairwell of a building in a Brooklyn housing project, one of them with his sidearm drawn. At the same time, a man and his girlfriend, frustrated by a long wait for an elevator, entered the seventh-floor stairwell, 14 steps below. In the darkness, a shot rang out from the officer’s gun, and the 28-year-old man below was struck in the chest and, soon after, fell dead.
The shooting, at 11:15 p.m. on Thursday, invited immediate comparison to the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in Ferguson, Mo. But 12 hours later, just after noon on Friday, the New York police commissioner, William J. Bratton, announced that the shooting was accidental and that the victim, Akai Gurley, had done nothing to provoke a confrontation with the officers.
The shooting came after a man at the park adjacent to the rec center called police when he saw “a guy with a gun pointing it at people.”
The caller twice said the gun was “probably fake” and told dispatchers the person pulling the gun from his waistband was “probably a juvenile,” according to audio released by police officials late Saturday.
The rookie officer saw the boy at a park bench pick up what looked like a gun and placed it in his waistband, Follmer said.
The officer ordered the boy to put his hands in the air. Instead, police said, the boy reached for his gun. Deputy Chief Edward Tomba said the boy made no verbal threats to the officer and there was no physical confrontation.
For comparison, here’s some information from a survey of Police Officers in England and Wales:
An overwhelming majority of 82 per cent stated that they do not want all officers to be routinely armed on duty. This is particularly significant given that there has been almost no change in police officers’ opinions since we conducted the previous surveys in 2003 and 1995, and this despite the massive rise in gun related crime.
They do want more officers specially trained to use guns, but then there’s this:
When asked if a decision was made to train and arm all police officers while on duty, 70 per cent of officers would be prepared to do so. However, out of the 6,516 (13.8 per cent) respondents who stated that they would never carry a firearm on duty, a staggering 56 per cent claimed they would resign from the force rather than accept an order to carry a firearm.
Oh and for fun, if you search for Cleveland toy gun you get ads for places like this.