One police officer in Newburgh, N.Y. was shot when trying to arrest an armed man wanted for questioning in a shooting. Bodycam footage clearly shows the man armed with a silver handgun violently resisting arrest, drawing his gun, and shooting the officer before getting shot to death by the police.
Cut and dried case of police defending themselves? Not if you’re an activist wanting to stoke the fires of racial hatred.
Newburgh residents rioted that evening after a councilman-at-large, Omari Shakur, bitterly complained about police targeting blacks.
The people who gathered near both scenes were visibly emotional.
A man standing on the sidewalk on William Street near the police scene, who said he has lived in the City of Newburgh for 50 years, said loudly, “They’re killing us for nothing.”
Some law enforcement were armed with what looked like assault rifles. Helicopters circled the skies in both areas.
“Look,” Shakur said. “They’re walking through our streets with machine guns; they come in here like we’re criminals. You see, that’s what’s wrong with our community right now.”
It seems unbelievable that the police could be questioned over this incident. City officials tried to dampen the rioting by releasing stills from the bodycam footage of one of the officers.
A review of body-worn camera and street cameras shows that when officers approached the man, he displayed a silver handgun and began fighting with officers, striking one of the officers in the head with a handgun. During the encounter the man discharged the pistol and City of Newburgh Police Officers fired their weapons. One City of Newburgh Police Officer was taken to the hospital and treated for a gunshot wound, as well as injuries to his head. After the armed man was shot, City of Newburgh Police Officers attempted CPR. However, after transport to St. Luke’s Hospital for treatment, the man was subsequently pronounced dead.
To ensure public confidence in the integrity of the investigation stills from a portion of one of the officer’s body-worn camera footage is being released to the media.
“Normally in an investigation of this type of incident we would not be releasing images this early in the investigation,” said District Attorney David Hoovler. “However, to allay community concerns, which quite frankly have been stoked by misinformation coming from a city official, we are releasing these images showing the armed man discharging his gun.”
Those “community concerns” are created out of whole cloth. It’s people hearing and seeing what they want to hear and see and then acting out their frustrations by rioting.
If people aren’t going to pay attention to the reality of what happened, what’s to be done? All the evidence points to the police using lethal force as a last resort. In effect, the man committed suicide by police. And yet, it’s the police who will inevitably pay the price.