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Police Union Slams Proposed Non-Lethal Force Bill

The police union is speaking out about a bill proposed in the State Assembly that would require police to only use the minimum amount of force against suspects.

The measure would require police officers to use weapons with intent to stop, rather than kill a suspect.

Critics say that would put officers in the dangerous position of having to aim for the suspect’s arms or legs.

Currently, state law affords an officer the right to kill if he or she feels someone’s life is in imminent danger.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch called the legislation unnecessary, saying New York City Police Department officers are already mandated to use the minimum amount of force to affect an arrest. He also said NYPD officers are the most restrained police in the world.


City cops are livid over a legislative proposal that could handcuff the brave officers involved in life-and-death confrontations every day — requiring them to shoot gun-wielding suspects in the arm or leg rather than shoot to kill, The Post has learned.

The “minimum force” bill, which surfaced in the Assembly last week, seeks to amend the state penal codes’ “justification” clause that allows an officer the right to kill a thug if he feels his life or someone else’s is in imminent danger.

The bill — drafted in the wake of Sean Bell’s controversial police shooting death — would force officers to use their weapons “with the intent to stop, rather than kill” a suspect. They would be mandated to “shoot a suspect in the arm or the leg.”

Under present NYPD training, cops are taught to shoot at the center of their target and fire their weapon until the threat has been stopped.

“These are split-second, spontaneous events — and officers have to make a full assessment in a fraction of a second,” said an angry Michael Paladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association. “It is not realistic, and it exists only in cartoons.

“It’s moronic and would create two sets of rules in the streets if there is a gunfight. This legislation would require officers to literally shoot the gun out of someone’s hand or shoot to wound them in the leg or arm. I don’t know of any criminal who doesn’t shoot to kill. They are not bound by any restrictions.”

“The legislators have their heads buried in the sand, and we would not be able to fully protect the public or ourselves.”

In fact, NYPD officers and detectives hit their targets only 17 percent of the time because of the incredibly stressful circumstances surrounding a shooting.

Paladino, whose association represents 5,100 investigators, said he showed the bill last week to Vice President Joe Biden, who scoffed and suggested it be dubbed “The John Wayne Bill” because it demands sharp-shooting skills of the kind only seen in movies.

Sponsored by Brooklyn Assembly Members Annette Robinson (D-Bedford Stuyvesant) and Darryl Towns (D-East New York), the bill came up at the Assembly Codes Committee but was held for further consideration rather than killed or put to vote before the full Assembly.

They did not immediately comment.

Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, the Codes Committee chair from Fort Greene and Williamsburg, said that the bill is well-intentioned but that the language may need changing.


Section of Assembly Bill A02952

“A police officer or peace officer . . . uses such force with the intent to stop, rather than kill . . . and uses only the minimal amount of force necessary to effect such stop.”


Section of state Penal Law S 35.15(2)(a)(ii)

“A person may not use deadly physical force upon another person . . . unless: he or she is . . . a police officer or peace officer or a person assisting a police officer or a peace officer at the latter’s direction.”

 (Source: NY1 / NY Post / YWN-4705)

4 Responses

  1. This is a “no-brainer”.
    If an officer’s life truly IS in danger, you shoot to kill, — then right AFTER the threat has been eliminated, shoot him in the leg. Then you can always say you shot in the leg FIRST, but he still intended to shoot you.

  2. I was going to say “What’s the Hiddush? That is already the policy” – and is probably the policy in most places. No one thinks that jaywalkers should be shot (and the minimum force to stop a well armed criminal is probably the same as lethal force).

    However then I read the article, and it said the same thing. The proposed law reflects existing policy.

  3. #1, if he intended to shoot you in the first place, why should you need an excuse to kill him? IT’S CALLED SELF DEFENSE!

  4. To #3 – “if he intended to shoot you in the first place, why should you need an excuse to kill him?”
    Because we are living in Chelm.
    Because we are living in an olam hafuch.
    For the same reason that in Israel Jews are expelled from their homes, and the yishmaeli enemy sits in the Knesset.
    For the same reason that a rasha gamur like the president of Iran states openly his desire to annihilate Israel and the U.S., and all obama does is criticize Israel.
    Because the world has gone crazy and “ayn lanu al mee le’heesha’ayn ela al Avinu she’bashamayim!

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