Tag Archives: police shooting

NYPD lieutenant’s new book shows history of tension between cops and mayors


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

New York City today is playing out a familiar scenario that pits the mayor against the NYPD rank and file in tense relations, with the roar of public demand for reform as the backdrop, said a veteran cop who has authored a history of the department.

But with the recent killings of two police officers, Whalen believes that the entrenched groups will have to come to a solution. Whalen of College Point is currently a lieutenant with the NYPD, giving him an unusual perspective from within the department.

“Cops have been getting shot in New York City since the beginning,” Whalen said, an idea illustrated in his book “The NYPD’s First Fifty Years,” due to be released next month. “But certain ones like this are more memorable than others because it impacts policy and how we do business.”

The book begins with the unification of New York City in 1897 and the creation of the modern police force, covering the first 50 years of department history.

De Blasio’s relationship with the police has always been uneasy, since his campaign promise to reform policies like stop and frisk and his response to a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer for the death of Eric Garner. The recent killings of Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in Brooklyn further exposed this divide.

The NYPD’s Union President Patrick Lynch blamed de Blasio for the shooting because of his tolerance of protests across the city protesting the police.

“It’s common for mayors to have troubles and be disliked by police,” Whalen said.

But Whalen said history shows that recent events could provide an opportunity for reform. More than 80 years ago, one of the city’s most popular mayors, Fiorello LaGuardia, faced strained relations with police because of his promises of reform and a perceived lax attitude on popular unrest.

LaGuardia became mayor in 1934 and soon after being elected his notions of reform were tested when cabbies began to riot. He urged restraint when using police force against disgruntled cabbies. Before LaGuardia, police would use their batons, but the mayor now instructed the conservative Police Commissioner John O’Ryan to leave the cabbies alone, despite the commissioner’s advice that force should be used.

In the end, more than 100 cabs were destroyed and rioters injured dozens of people. The press criticized the mayor and the commissioner in the aftermath and, Whalen writes, so began an “escalating ideological battle between the mayor and the police commissioner.”

“LaGuardia is much like de Blasio,” Whalen said. “The police didn’t like LaGuardia either but in the end the mayor was able to consolidate a progressive agenda with effective policing.”

Much like LaGuardia, de Blasio is trying to be a progressive politician while keeping crime down, which is why, Whalen said, Bratton was hired.

“There’s always been this emphasis to keep the lid on it,” Whalen said. “Meaning that crime always has to stay down, no matter what. So de Blasio can talk about progressive agendas all he wants, but he still has to have firm authority through people like Bratton.”

Whalen’s book, which was co-written with his father Jon, is filled with tales of early 1900s anarchists and communists attempting to bomb various sites across the city, including Police Headquarters, which puts today’s peaceful protests in context. Whalen’s book also points out how dangerous it used to be to work for the NYPD.

Whalen believes that the Brooklyn shooting will cause many protesters to stop marching in the streets, as de Blasio has called for. It will also put the police on high alert. He cautioned against the police becoming overly sensitive when on patrol and becoming afraid.

“Police have to watch their backs, but if they’re afraid, they might make the wrong decision and then the city will really plunge into unrest,” he said.

Whalen’s book is set to be released in January 2015.

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Police exchange fire with suspect in Elmhurst; $12K reward offered


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated Monday, June 23, 10:05 a.m.

Police in Elmhurst exchanged gunfire with a man who had been shooting at another man, officials said.

No one was hurt in the gunfire, which broke out around 2 a.m. Saturday.

A sergeant and police officer, both in uniform and in a marked police car, were responding to a trespassing call when they saw a man chasing another man and firing shots at him at Lamont Avenue and Forley Street.

The cops jumped from their car and ordered the man to drop the gun, but instead he turned on them, raised the weapon and shot at them, police said.

The officers returned fire, but no one was hit in the exchange, cops said.

The gunman is described as 20 to 25 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall and with a medium build. When he fled, he left behind a .22 caliber pistol, according to police

There is a $12,000 combined reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the crime, officials said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Man dead in police shooting on GCP


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

A man was shot dead by police this morning on the Grand Central Parkway and two others are in custody.

The shooting occurred at 5 a.m. near exit 7 shutting down the highway during morning rush hour.

Police fired at the suspect, hitting him once in the abdomen, police said. According to the New York Times, the suspect was unarmed.  The 22 year old was taken to New York Hospital Queens where he was pronounced dead, according to reports.

The  Times report also indicates the car was pulled over after it twice cut off police vehicles.

NBC New York reported police mistakenly believed the man had a gun.

Two other men that were with the suspect in a black Honda have been taken into custody, reports said.

The investigation is ongoing.

 

Police shoot and kill Queens man who stabbed himself, wife


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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Police shot and killed a man wielding a knife, after he had stabbed his wife and himself, according to officials.

The incident occurred at 8:30 p.m. on 223rd Place in Oakland Gardens on Thursday, when police received a call of a 50-year-old man stabbing himself.

When police arrived, his wife, identified by neighbors as Sharon, was bleeding from stab wounds from her neck and chest.

Police ordered the man to drop the knife, and when he refused, officers shot him in the chest, police said.

“I heard one shot, then two rapid fire,” said local Michael Yonkolowitz.

The suspect was taken to North Shore Hospital in Manhasset where he was pronounced dead.

Sharon was also transported to the hospital and is listed in critical condition, according to officials.

Residents say Sharon lived in the rental home, at 61st Avenue and 224th Street, for two decades, along with a teenage daughter, and that they are “lovely, wonderful people.”

“It’s not a family you would ever think [this would happen to],” neighbors said.