Bystander hit by police gunfire during Empire State Building shooting sues city, NYPD
A bystander hit by NYPD crossfire during last August's shooting near the Empire State Building is suing the city and the departmentaccording to the lawsuit.
Chenin Declos, 32, a student from North Carolina, was one of nine bystanders hit by police bullets or fragments when two officers opened fire on and killed a man suspected of shooting a former co-worker near the ESB.
In the suit, filed Tuesdayin New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Declos said the department and officers were "grossly negligent" when they fired 16 shots at the man near 34th Street and Fifth Avenue. She is seeking unspecified damages.
Duclos was "frantically running to get away from the bedlam and hysteria that was unfolding on the street around her" when she was shot in the neck, according to the lawsuit.
Declos claims that she is still undergoing "intensive physical therapy," and that she "has experienced and continues to experience emotional distress, pain ... loss of professional opportunity and loss of income." She also says her expected graduation date, 2014, has been pushed back because of the incident.
The New York City Law Department said it will "vigorously defend the officers," and that their decision to use deadly force is protected.
"These officers had to make split-second decisions in dealing with a life-threatening situation presented by an armed gunman who had just killed someone," NYC Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo said in a statement. "The state's highest court has recognized that police officers' split-second decisions to use deadly force must be protected from this kind of second-guessing. To allow otherwise would have a chilling effect on the ability of our police to enforce the law and would put the lives of police officers and the public at risk."
The NYPD didn't respond to requests for comment.