NYPD: Friends Don’t Shoot Friends

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[On The Spot]

This is American History at its best. 

There is no need for any more training to stop these so-called "bad decision shootings" in the New York Police Department (NYPD).  It will not stop these types of shootings because the mindset did not start with the NYPD – some just adopted it. 

We are seeing this as a global problem where the mindset of so many believe that a person of African descent's life is worthless. Yes, race had everything to do with this shooting of officer Omar Edwards. Every Black man or woman with a gun is not a criminal. 

The NYPD gives each of their members the same firearm training – the ones in special units get even more.  The training is very clear and the law, which gives a public servant the power to use deadly physical force, is also very clear. Why do so many White officers shoot Black males and there are almost never any cases of Black officers shooting White males?

Because a Black officer knows when he discharges that service weapon – he will be on his own – and may be arrested on the spot. It did not matter how many years Omar Edwards worked as a police officer. Had he been retiring from the force that same day – the results would have been the same because he was nothing more than a Black man with a gun.

When Edwards was gunned down by NYPD’s bullets, no one knew he was a cop; didn’t even know he played for NYPD’s football team; and he sure was not being mistaken as a friend that morning. It gets bad when the story begins to develop in the aftermath of these officers’ lives; a life that ends at the hands of other officers. 

The reports begin to cast some blame on the deceased such as not following verbal commands, i.e., “Police; stop; drop it,” which we know can easily be translated into more like, "Drop the f—king gun,” followed by shots. 

The deceased seems to always turn pointing the gun at the person giving said commands. Police Officer Edwards’death was not a cop-on-cop shooting at all; he was hit in the back. It is what it is and this time we have to seriously deal with it and not treat this shooting like some big mistake for the moment until everything just blows away. 

There may not be one Commanding Officer in this city who says to these police officers before going on duty – "Remember, every Black man is not a criminal," because it has been a culture mind-set for centuries. The problem did not start and does not end here on this dark Harlem Street, it’s everywhere, i.e., your hospitals, courts, fire houses, correction department, housing department, Department of Education, City Hall, and so forth.

You can find some form of discrimination taking place at any time anywhere and if we do not fix it now – there will be more Officer Edwards falling in the streets, in line of duty – and being Black the only crime committed. A police officer is never off-duty and when Officer Edwards observed a potential suspect trying to break into his car – he took action and would have done the same if the car was not his own. 

He was in pursuit of a perpetrator; he had his gun in his hand just as he was trained to do. He made the decision to give chase – and not shoot. When a car service with a great on-time record begins to show up late, you don’t continue to call the service great.  The NYPD’s unjustifiable shooting is beginning to appear too common – should we still call them, “NYPD finest?”

Too many shootings have occurred under this mayor and commissioner with no real preventive measures being put in place. Members of the One Hundred Blacks in Law Enforcement made demands for this commissioner to be removed after the Sean Bell shooting. 

Retired Detective Marc Claxton has been very critical of the police commissioner, and has called for him to be fired many times. Some heads need to roll in these shootings. Claxton is now a candidate running for the 31st District City Council seat in Queens. It is the City Council that holds hearings on these types of shootings and they have failed to deal with the problem for some time now.

There should be a call for action. Why is it that nine out of 10 times peoples of the African descent are the victims at the end of a police officer’s gun?     

When someone becomes a liability to the community and cannot respectfully do the job they were sworn to do – it is time for a career change. 

Contact Winkfield for his consideration regarding covering your own story: (646) 387-8964; By mail: On The Spot, Post Office Box 230149, Queens County 11423; Email: Bsnonthespot@aol.com or milton@blackstarnews.com ; call (212) 481-7745.  Together we can get the justice everyone just talks about. 

To subscribe to or advertise in New York’s leading Pan Global weekly investigative newspaper, please call (212) 481-7745 or send a note to Milton@blackstarnews.com 

“Speaking Truth To Empower.”

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