CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Sunday, December 3, 2006

CrimProf Jim Cohen Discusses NYPD Shooting of Unarmed Groom

Cohen_2From Fordham Law School CrimProf Jim Cohen discusses the NYPD unleashing 50 bullets and shooting of an unarmed man on his wedding day.

Three days after the fatal encounter, it remains unclear what prompted the four detectives and one police officer to use deadly force while conducting an undercover vice operation at the club.

Police investigators have not interviewed the officers, in deference to a district attorney probe that could result in criminal charges, nor have the officers spoken publicly. A detectives' union lawyer, Philip Karasyk, has called the incident “a tragedy but not a crime.”

Union officials familiar with the officers' account say at least one undercover detective was convinced there was a gun in the car. They also allege that Bell defied orders to stop and used the vehicle as a weapon by bumping the undercover and ramming an unmarked police van.

Though Mayor Michael Bloomberg has suggested the amount of firepower used was “unacceptable or inexplicable,” it might not rise to the level of a crime, said Jim Cohen, a professor of criminal law at Fordham Law School.

“The number of shots fired doesn't mean anything, even though it seems a little shocking,” Cohen said. “We simply don't have enough information to draw any conclusions.” Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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