Yesterday, sources told the Voice that eight victims at the Empire State Building shooting were hit by bullets fired by the police officers at the scene.
There, we were told that two officers fired off 16 rounds at Jeffrey Johnson, the white-collar employee who sought revenge against his ex-boss, and somehow, these shots deflected off nearby objects to hit passerby’s fleeing the scene. In the press conference immediately after the deadly encounter, Mayor Bloomberg told reporters that there was a chance it was the cops’ fault for the wounded spectators.
Well, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly not only confirmed our sources’ information (and Bloomberg’s chance) this morning but the number of those accidentally shot by the NYPD has raised one up to nine in total.
Kelly was quoted as saying that the police duo’s shots hit “flowerpots and other objects around, so… their bullets fragmented, in essence, that’s what caused the wounds.” The commish also told reporters that, as of Friday evening, six of the wounded were released from medical care while three of them remained under hospital supervision.
So there you have it: the two NYPD officers accidentally shot nine people yesterday. Luckily, none of those deflected shots were fatal. But, to quote Gail Collins’s column in this morning’s New York Times, “This isn’t surprising: it’s only in movies that people are good shots during a violent encounter;” afterwards, she pointed to a statistic that showed a 34% accuracy rate for police officers in the line of duty.
Unfortunately, target practice can only get you so far.
Martin Luther King told of his growing nightmares and his enduring dreams in the rolling, hypnotic cadences of the rural preacher. But it was the humane, incorruptible mystique of the man that won the crowd, his crescendo phrases winning affirmations of “amen” and “Say it, brother” again and again.