I’m never one to come to the defense of the New York Police Department. In the past, I’ve written numerous blogs on the NYPD's trials and tribulations and held them accountable for their actions, but in the shooting case of Darrius Kennedy, I have to say, they did the right thing.
The confrontation started when a cop spotted Kennedy smoking marijuana at 44th St and 7th Ave. just after 3 p.m. Saturday.
When they tried to cuff him, Kennedy grew belligerent. He struggled free, pulling a kitchen knife with a six-inch blade out of his pocket and waving it over his head.
Kennedy would later lead NYPD officers on a seven-block back-down, in which four cops pepper-sprayed him six times.
Kennedy kept coming; he lunged at two cops with his knife and they fired 12 shots, killing him on site.
Now, Kennedy’s family is screaming excessive force and I can’t blame them. Though shooting someone 12 times is excessive, it was called for in this instance.
Kennedy’s aunt Margaret Johnson told the New York Daily News:
“It doesn't take 12 bullets to kill one person…I think it could have been done another way.”
Yet, there were a couple of things about Kennedy’s case people have glossed over. One is the initial site of the confrontation: police say they spotted Kennedy smoking weed at 44th St and 7th Ave.
If this is true, that’s a strike against him. Kennedy was in the heart of Times Square, one of the most patrolled areas in NYC, so being busted by NYPD is inevitable.
Second, once you pull a knife on an NYPD officer, it’s automatically threatening law enforcement, and your troubles only mount from there on.
Third, leading police in a standoff and not complying is not only resisting arrest, but endangering the public.
Public safety is every NYPD officer's main concern, ergo engaging in a standoff with a knife-wielding man in the middle of Midtown Manhattan is not in the interest of public safety. They were forced to resolve the situation by any means necessary.
Kennedy’s family feels that the cops used excessive force; well, police tried to subdue Kennedy when they pepper-sprayed him and that didn’t work.
And I don’t understand the “excessive force” argument in this case.
The NYPD isn’t trained to shoot someone in the leg or arm when their life is threatened, when an officer pulls his gun, the aim to kill - not subdue.
The truth is, Kennedy caused his own death. As much as I would like to find a viable reason to blame the NYPD for his killing, this time, they were justified in doing so.
Shaka Griffith is the News/Politics Editor of GlobalGrind.com Follow him on Twitter @Darealshaka
Photo courtesy of Marcus Silveira for the New York Daily News