This time, they killed the guy. No, not the guy they were shooting at — he’s in stable condition, and going to recover fully. That’s the guy they should have killed, the guy who held a gun to a cop’s head and later turned and pointed it at him. (The gun turned out to be an Airsoft fake, but was convincing enough you have to agree with the decision to engage the suspect. We have an NYPD official photo of the suspect “gun” below).
But despite firing 11 or 12 rounds from his real gun, the cop only hit armed robber and wannabe cop-killer Alvin Smothers, 36, three times, none in an incapacitating or even solid hit. Two negligently fired rounds struck bystander Felix Kumi, 61, killing him. The other six or seven rounds went Christ-knows-where.
You can’t blame the officer for firing. While the police thought they were carrying out a sting against a black market gun dealer, the “gun dealer,” Jeff Aristy, 28, and his accomplice, Smothers, thought they were going to rob a couple of non-street-smart gun buyers. Since they were supposedly selling these guys guns, they were not expecting an armed response. The Daily Mail:
According to the NYPD, the killer officer was trying to set up a suspected gun dealer in a months-long undercover operation.
First, did they have to say, “killer officer”? The guy didn’t pick up his gun and badge that morning and say, “Patience, my ass, today I’m going out and kill something!” He was badly let down by departmental policies and training. And if he’d only shot the worthless Smothers, and stopped there, he’d be a hero.
Suspect Jeff Aristy, 28, contacted the officer with an offer of guns for sale, then drove him from the Bronx to Mount Vernon to carry out the deal, police said.
Criminals do stuff like this because jailhouse lawyers tell them a New York City cop can’t bust them outside of the five boroughs. Jailhouse lawyers are, in this and many other things, wrong.
After Aristy parked his car, Smothers, the second suspect who was shot, allegedly got into the back seat and pointed the fake gun at the officer’s head, demanding money.
The officer handed over a wad of cash, waited for Smothers to flee, then chased after him, police said.
During the chase, Smothers is said to have turned round and aimed the replica weapon at the officer, prompting him to open fire – hitting both the suspect and Kumi, a local man who happened to be in the area.
It is hard to fault the decision-making of the officer here. He functioned pretty well for a guy who had just had a gun to his head. Here’s the gun:
Would you recognize it as a fake in mere seconds? We wouldn’t, and we carried a real one as a personal weapon for 2-3 years and then as a service weapon for another 25 or so.
This Airsoft toy is a close-enough replica of a Beretta M9A1 that you have to look very, very close to see indicators that it’s not real — and that’s with it just sitting there in the photo.
What they don’t need to do is make an example of the copper here. The guy was hanging it out, doing one of the riskiest jobs in law enforcement, and while he handled the attempted robbery with notable sang-froid, most people in any large group of trained shooters will revert to their training in combat. That’s what he did, and that’s why a citizen is dead and a nogoodnik is not. Because his training was self-evidently unsatisfactory to his requirements.
The real problem is the department’s mixed-up, tossed-up, never-come-down firearms training and policies that generate these disasters over and over again.
New York Police Department needs to inject some realism in its training, and to lose the unsafe Glock New York Trigger (or NY2 or whatever ultra-heavy trigger they’re specifying now). With a gun like a Glock that has no manual safety and requires a trigger pull for routine maintenance, nothing you do to the trigger is going to prevent a department with 30,000 or 40,000 cops from having the occasional ND. (Hanging those who have NDs from a construction crane in front of One Police Plaza might help, but it will never get you to zero. Remember, they had NDs when they were carrying .38 Specials).
Someone will suggest banning realistic toy guns.
New York already does. How’s that working out for them?