Sunday, May 30, 2010

NY Legislator Proposes Police No-Kill Bill

New York Assemblywoman Annette Robinson introduced a bill that would require cops to shoot to wound rather than shoot to kill. Similar bills have been proposed in the past as knee jerk reactions to police shootings.

Police officers are trained to shoot center mass. The center mass of a human is the torso or chest, which is the largest target on the body. Normally the police are instructed to fire two quick shots into the center mass. In New York the law provides, “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,”[35.15(2)(a)(ii)].

Robinson's bill would require police officers to shoot for the leg, arm or even the hand holding a weapon. The bill is unrealistic and dangerous. Imagine a suspect bearing down on a police officer with a AK-47 and in return the officer or officers make a split-second decision to shoot the suspect in the leg?

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the bill "makes no sense to anyone who knows anything about law enforcement." Robinson has admitted that she is one of those people who knows nothing. She told the New York Post, "Not being a police officer, I would not be able to discuss the instance or the time that happens, but I do know that it happens."

My Take

The bill is going no where. However, it is frightening that a legislator could support such a dangerous and irresponsible piece of legislation. The audacity to curry favor with your constituents at the expense of men and woman who put their lives on the line everyday.

The example above of a suspect with an AK-47 is not really a difficult decision. How about the knife wielding guy, high on meth charging at a police officer. Do you shoot to wound? Do you have time to think about it? Not if the officer or his colleagues want to survive. In a life-threatening situation, it is unrealistic for a police officer to do anything but take definitive action to insure complete and immediate incapacitation.

When considering what is at stake, it is clear that Robinson's efforts are more than political expediency, they are reprehensible and irresponsible.

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