Abuse of Authority Opinions

NYPD Passes Buck: Blames Emotionally Disturbed Man for Bystanders Shot by Police

NEW YORK, NY – As if it wasn’t bad enough that the NYPD tried to shoot an emotionally disturbed man and instead wound up wounding multiple bystanders, prosecutors are trying to hold the man legally accountable for the injuries received by bystanders shot by police.

Using the novel theory that because peace officers were summoned to deal with a disturbance caused by Glenn Broadnax, prosecutors contend that Broadnax was responsible for the injuries received when officers shot two bystanders, and are charging the man with assault.  If convicted of the felony, Broadnax faces up to 25 years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Shannon Lucy told the New York Times, “The defendant is the one that created the situation that injured innocent bystanders.”

Broadnax’s lawyer disagrees with this assessment, pointing out that Broadnax was emotionally disturbed.  Documents show that after he was eventually subdued, Broadnax told detectives “he was talking to dead relatives in his head and that he tried throwing himself in front of cars to kill himself.”

Representatives of the victims of the shooting contend that the District Attorney should instead be pursuing charges against the officers who fired their weapons into the crowd.  Mariann Wang, a lawyer representing one of the wounded women, said, “It’s an incredibly unfortunate use of prosecutorial discretion to be prosecuting a man who didn’t even injure my client. It’s the police who injured my client.”

This gross miscarriage of justice brings to mind the NYPD’s distinguished history of shooting innocent bystanders.  Last year, officers outside of the Empire State Building shot nine bystanders during a shootout with a murder suspect.