NYPD To Expand Training Of Officers To Avoid Unnecessary Use of Deadly and Excessive Force

NYPD ReformsAs reported in a New York Times article, the New York City Police Department is making efforts moving forward into 2018 to train officers in the de-escalation of encounters with civilians who are not armed. This is a clear attempt by the NYPD to avoid the use of excessive force if possible, following a number of recent high-profile incidents where NYPD officers have shot dead individuals who did not possess a firearm.

NYPD was heavily scrutinized after an incident on December 5, 2017, when an NYPD officer shot a 69-year-old man, Mario Sanabria, in his Bronx apartment where he took care of his 92-year old older brother, Natalio Conde. The NYPD broke down the door and raided the apartment after reports that Mr. Sanabria’s nephew was in possession of firearms and narcotics. Mr. Conde said he thought the intruders were robbers at first, then he saw someone grab Mr. Sanabria, before hearing the gun shots. Now the family is asking for answers: Mr. Sanabria was only 5’4’’ and weighed about 160 pounds and police shot him in the chest rather than use less lethal force or try to de-escalate the situation in another way.

This is the third time since October that an NYPD police officer has opened fire on individuals wielding knives inside their residential buildings. According to the New York Times, in November 2017, the NYPD, killed 67-year-old Cornell Lockhart in the lobby of a building in the Bronx that provides housing services for at-risk and formerly homeless. An NYPD officer shot Mr. Lockhart after he refused to drop a steak knife.

Earlier in October 2017, NYPD officers shot and killed Paris Cummings, 27 years-old, after he refused to drop two knives he was holding. NYPD had received a call of a man attempting suicide and in need of help, but used lethal force against Mr. Cummings rather than attempting to de-escalate the situation or use less lethal force.

In light of these highly publicized incidents, NYPD is seeking to improve the training of their officers in order to disarm and neutralize individuals who are using knives and to avoid the use of deadly and excessive force where possible.

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of excessive use of force by the NYPD, then please contact the attorneys at PetersonDelleCave LLP.