Councilman Show-Boating Over Fatal Police Shooting
New York Daily News via YellowBrix
October 05, 2010
NEW YORK – It took just eight hours after Sunday’s shooting by police of 24-year-old Emmanuel Paulino for Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez to stand with Paulino’s mother and demand “justice and a clear investigation.”
While Rodriguez insists he supports the good work of the NYPD and was not rushing to judgment, his presence lent credence to accusations that cops used unnecessary force in firing on the disturbed and knife-wielding Paulino.
No matter the evidence to the contrary, these days friends and family members almost invariably charge that police went over the line in killing their loved ones. This is understandable. Emotions do cloud judgment.
But public officials must be more reasoned so as not to add to corrosive perceptions that the cops are callous, out-of-control cowboys. Public officials must draw clear distinctions between those bad shootings that do happen and tragedies that were forced upon the police.
Suggesting by vague inference that a death might, just might, be part of a pattern of police misconduct is the politically expedient thing to do. Looking carefully at the facts is much harder.
Such as the fact that Paulino called 911, saying, “I want you to call the cops ‘cause I’m ready to kill. … I’m ready to kill some cops right now.”
Or the fact that, when the police arrived, they found a young man brandishing a knife that he refused to drop.
That’s when cops shot and Paulino died.
Rodriguez seems less concerned with the sum total of these facts, which reflect not so wonderfully on Paulino, than with the NYPD’s failure to somehow rush a psychologist to the scene in time to, in theory, counsel the raging and suicidal Paulino into dropping his knife.
“Who responded? Which unit responded?” asks Rodriguez.
The call was strong evidence, he says, that Paulino was mentally disturbed, and required special care: “No one who is stable in their mind would call and say he or she would kill a cop when all they had was a 4-inch knife.”
Of course, not. Paulino was deranged. And that’s why he’s dead. He gave the cops no choice.