NYPD is shooting people less often than ever: report
NYPD officers shot and killed fewer people in 2010 than ever before, according to an annual report of police-related shootings released Tuesday.
Total incidents involving gun discharges was also at a record low since the department began tracking the data in 1971.
“The improvement is due to police training, restraint, and our success in reducing crime overall,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement.
Although there were fewer shooting incidents in 2010 than the year prior, and fewer officers who used their weapons, those that did shot off 24 percent more bullets than were fired in 2009, according to NYPD statistics.
Eugene O’Donnell, a former cop and a police studies expert at John Jay College, said the NYPD deserved credit for again lowering the number of shootings by police officers, adding, “I didn’t think [the statistics] could get any lower.”
“It’s probably the most restrained big city police department on the planet, of those that carry guns,” O’Donnell said of the NYPD. “They have created a culture of accountability that’s unparalleled.”
The department’s report came just three days before the fifth anniversary of the gunning down of Sean Bell by five cops who showered 50 bullets at him and two friends outside a Jamaica strip club on his wedding day. The officers later said they believed Bell and his friends were armed. Three of the five officers were charged and found not guilty, and the city settled a lawsuit by paying more than $7 million.
Despite the decrease in police shootings, councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn) dismissed the NYPD’s report, pointing out the recent arrests of officers for rape and illegally selling guns, and an increase in “stop-and-frisks” in heavily Black and Latino neighborhoods. He also said there has been an increase in alleged police brutality in those areas.
“The police can’t police themselves,” Barron told amNewYork. “They’re turning this into a fascist state… I wouldn’t be surprised if they start water boarding us after they arrest us.”
“Kelly needs to go,” he added.
But Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria), who heads the council’s public safety committee, said the city is “very lucky” to have Kelly as its top cop.
“As this report shows, they’re doing a number of things right,” Vallone said. He also disagreed with Barron’s negative opinion of police checks, saying, “Stop-and-frisk gets the gun off the streets before the shootings happen.”
Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the report showed some “good news.”
“It’s always good news when the number of incidents is down, but there remain problems,” she said. “We count on the police department to address the problems and not just congratulate themselves on the good news.”
Although Gotham has seen 5% fewer murders so far this year than last year, it’s unlikely it will break any records.
As of Nov. 20, 455 murders have been reported in the city, down from 482 over the same period last year, police said.
A record-low of 471 murders was set in 2009.