Two dead, nine wounded? Hell no do I think those cops had to open fire. It was two against one. Plus they were behind Jeffrey Johnson; they could’ve tackled him and kicked his ass. The iPhone footage from that would’ve allowed them to surf street cred for the rest of their careers. Even the worst case scenario along those lines is better than what really went down.
So Johnson might’ve gotten a round off and shot one of ’em while they wrestled for his weapon: it happens. But the public never swore to take a bullet for a cop — cops swear oaths to protect the public.
Relax – nobody’s blaming Officers Craig Matthews and Robert Sinishtaj for doing their jobs, and I’m not saying Johnson wasn’t a public safety threat. But like it ‘er not, these two safety-conscious, veteran street officers will always have an asterisk next to the Empire State Building takedown.
Why, you ask? ‘Cause they sprayed the street with lead and then reloaded like they were playing Call of Duty. Because they were lousy shots. Because they didn’t zig or zag or rush the dude. Because they sentenced nine or more whole families to years of squaring off with medical insurance adjusters whose primary objective is to make folks give up in frustration. Because it was overkill.
For once, I’d like to hear of a cop who handled an escalation of force apprehension with his boxing skills – and no, I don’t mean six baton-wielding, taser-jock goons beating a 157-lb homeless schizophrenic to death. When I was a kid, a schoolmate’s policeman father told us about the day he grabbed the gun from a nut who’d just shot his neighbor and was pointing it at anyone who came near. My friend’s dad knocked him out. Done. Where are those guys today? Does police training now encourage cadets to simply empty their service magazines at the first hint of threat?
Yeah-yeah, I realize we live in a different world now, but you know what? That’s horse shit. And it’s far too easily used as an excuse these days. The Empire State Building takedown could’ve happened in any year, in any part of the county, on any day – New York and 9/11 or not. In the end, Craig Matthews and Robert Sinishtaj did their jobs with their triggers, not their balls. I’d hate to think that “we live in a different world now” has neutered the rest of the NYPD too.