Late last month, an undercover NYPD officer picked up alleged illegal weapons dealer Jeffrey Aristy - from whom he had purchased some 25 guns on 10 separate occasions - in the Bronx and drove him to meet his “cousin” Samuel Ruiz in Mount Vernon.
It was either a set up or else everyone was just in the wrong place at the wrong time because just as the two men were ready to pull off, 37-year old Alvin Smothers jumped in the backseat, pointed a gun at the officer’s head, and robbed him of the $2,400 he had brought to buy the illegal guns from Aristy. Smothers then tried to run away when the officer broke cover and fired somewhere between 11 and 21 shots at the would be robber who had a tough time returning fire because as it turned out, the gun he had just put to the officer’s head was fake. Tragically, a 61-year old devout Jehovah’s Witness who was walking up the street was killed as the officer shot at the fleeing Smothers. The New York Post summed up the story quite effectively last week as follows: "A bystander was shot and seriously wounded by an NYPD cop in Westchester Friday afternoon when a suspect the officer was buying illegal guns from tried to rob him."
Now there are obviously a number of absurd things about that story, but what shouldn’t get lost in the sheer ridiculousness is the fact that this undercover officer fired as many as 21 shots in the middle of the street at a fleeing suspect and somehow managed to hit a bystander not once, but twice in the midsection.
So while the NYPD looks to be fairly accurate when it comes to accidentally shooting senior citizens in the chest, they don’t fare as well when engaged in firefights with suspected murderers who are shooting at them.
Enter 27-year old Jerrol Harris.
Harris was apparently rummaging around in a car in Brooklyn last Friday night when the car’s owner, one Leon Faison, confronted him.
Harris then shot Faison.
Undeterred, the 52-year old gave chase as Harris attempted to flee and when both Harris and Faison simultaneously spotted a pair of police officers, a firefight was joined.
According to RT, Harris took up a position behind a parked car and shattered a police cruiser’s windshield before retreating anew. The officers fired 52 shots at him all of which missed.
Shortly thereafter, Harris found himself cornered, at which point two more officers fired 32 additional shots at the suspect. Finally, one bullet struck Harris in the calf. He's now in custody (with a flesh wound) facing first-degree and second-degree attempted murder charges.
So there, ladies and gentlemen are your tax dollars at work. Not a lot of protecting and/or serving, but a whole lot of shooting.
Asked to explain how it's possible that after turning Bushwick into the Wild West, several trained officers managed to miss the mark a staggering 83 out of 84 times they pulled the trigger, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis explained that, much like true biker shootouts, real "running gun battles" are wildly unpredictable affairs:
“You have a running gun battle here. There are a lot of cops involved and it takes place in several different locations. It’s not as if everything was stationary.”