In the Line of Fire: Tough justice for bystanders hit by NYPD bullets

Number 26133
Subject Police
Source 219 Magazine
State N.Y.
Year 2013
Publication Date Sept. 16, 2013
Summary When innocent bystanders were shot by New York police in front of the Empire State Building, many were surprised. Yet over the last two-plus decades, from 1990 to 2012, an examination of yearly police reports revealed that nearly 60 innocent bystanders were shot. Some were killed, while others suffered permanent injuries.These were people who were not mistakenly believed to be suspects, but simply innocent bystanders at the wrong place and wrong time. A CUNY News Service review, based on examining more than two decades of police reports, lawsuits, news accounts and interviews, shows that every year for the past 10 years at least one innocent bystander has been shot by the NYPD. Most of the time the victims are wounded. Some with permanent injuries. One bystander, a paraplegic teenager, was struck by a stray police bullet while sitting in his wheelchair. Further digging revealed the city makes no special effort to compensate victims -- indeed, the city in an untold number of cases fights making any compensation. The investigation shows that innocent bystanders who try to get city compensation have to file claims and lawsuits, and often face years of delay and mental anguish to go along with their physical pain. Payment vary greatly. The city often contests payments, and some victims get no money at all for their pains. Even victims in the same incident can get wildly different results -- in one case, one bystander got compensation, a second bystander who was severely wounded got no money. The majority of the shootings happen in the city’s poorer sections, particularly in northern Manhattan, from Harlem to Inwood. The shootings also happen mainly during daylight, underscoring questions about police training raised by victims.
Category Contest Entry -- Student Work Category
Keywords police; shootings; bystanders
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