Early Sunday morning two police officers, both of whom completed their training just last month, shot and killed a 14-year-old boy in south Bronx. The killing is a direct result of the Operation Impact, Commissioner Ray Kelly’s policy of deploying the department’s greenest members to the most crime-ridden parts of the city.
Reports of the incident state that the two police officers found 14-year-old victim Shaaliver Douse firing a 9mm handgun at another boy, who fled the scene.
The officers told Douse to relinquish the gun, but he refused. Initial reports stated that Douse opened fire on the two cops first, but that has since been debunked. One of the two officers then shot and killed Douse with a single bullet to the jaw.
Douse had a history of gun violence. In May he was charged with attempted murder after shooting another teenage boy in the shoulder, though those charges were dropped after the victim stopped cooperating.
Operation Impact has flooded high-crime neighborhoods with rookie cops since 2003. Commissioner Kelly has touted the program as central to the city’s tumbling crime rates.
Of the many obvious flaws in the logic of the program, one deficiency screams the loudest: If Operation Impact is intended to build and solidify a positive relationship between community residents and police, how are new cops given to macho displays of their new power the answer?
Unless, of course, diplomacy is a red herring for Operation Impact’s second prong: stop-and-frisk. Interesting definition of “community engagement.”