Following the fatal shooting of a knife-wielding man in Times Square on Saturday, the NYPD has come out to defend police officers' actions, dismissing claims that cops may have gone too far using 12 bullets to kill the man.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called the incident "unfortunate" but added, "You can second-guess all of these things. Under the circumstances, what the officers did was appropriate to the situation. They want to go home at night as well. The individual was threatening people, threatening officers.”
The bizarre standoff began on Saturday afternoon when officers approached 51-year old Darrius Kennedy, who appeared to be smoking marijuana in the middle of Times Square.
After becoming agitated by the encounter, Kennedy brought out an 11-inch knife and began to walk backwards down Seventh Avenue, refusing to drop the weapon.
Police say they pepper-sprayed Kennedy six times, but it failed to stop him. After Kennedy allegedly lunged at the cops, they shot at Kennedy 12 times.
Kennedy was later pronounced dead at Belleuve Hospital.
Kennedy's family has since criticized the NYPD for overreacting to the events. Kathy Johnson, a woman claiming to be Kennedy's first cousin said, "I think they could have gave him a warning shot, probably a shot in the leg or the arm. I know they've got to protect the people, but in the same token, you took somebody's life."
But police officials have justified their actions, saying Kennedy lunged at cops from just three feet away, while still holding a knife. They also cited Kennedy's history of run-ins with the law, and namely a 2008 incident when he was arrested for threatening to harm police officers with a screwdriver near Lincoln Square.
Mayor Bloomberg was among city officials agreeing with the police commissioner's statements in defense of officers, saying, "taking a knife and going after other people, particularly police officers, isn’t something that a sane person would do.”