Family: Knife-Wielding Man Shot By Cops Didn't Have To Die. Umm...Yes He Did
The family of a man gunned down by cops in Times Square Saturday afternoon says he didn't need to die -- which is pretty hard to swallow considering he threatened officers with an 11-inch knife in a tourist hot-spot, all while daring police to shoot him.
"I think they could have gave him a warning shot, probably a shot in the leg or the arm," Kathy Johnson, 51-year-old Darrius Kennedy's first cousin, told reporters yesterday. "I know they've got to protect the people, but in the same token, you took somebody's life."
Well, cops aren't generally in the business of firing "warning shots," especially at knife-wielding maniacs in a place filled with tourists. Not to mention, police hit Kennedy with pepper spray six times before he lunged at them with the blade -- if six blasts of pepper spray isn't a "warning shot," we don't know what is.
Kennedy was spotted smoking weed near 44th Street and Seventh Avenue on Saturday afternoon -- which is pretty much the dumbest place to smoke weed in public on a Saturday afternoon; it's swarming with cops.
When confronted by police, Kennedy got agitated -- he pulled out the knife and dared officers to shoot him as the standoff worked its way down Seventh Avenue, which -- as you can see in the video embedded above -- was packed with tourists.
After the six shots of pepper spray, Kennedy lunged at officers with the knife. Then: bang, bang -- two officers fired a total of 12 shots at Kennedy, killing him.
Kennedy has 10 prior arrests, one of which -- in October of 2008 -- resulted in him being hospitalized for a mental evaluation after police took him into custody for knocking garbage cans over in Times Square. The following month, Kennedy got popped again, this time for allegedly threatening motorists and cops with a screwdriver on Broadway and West 66th Street.
Prior arrests -- and psych evaluations -- aside, the fact remains: this guy lunged at cops with a knife on a street packed with tourists after he was pepper-sprayed six times.
That said, let the "why didn't they just Taser him" debate commence.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.