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Mineola, NY - NC Woman Sues NYPD Over Empire State Shooting

Published on: January 22, 2013 12:00 PM
By: AP
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FILE -  New York City Police Crime investigators gather outside the Empire State Building where a 53-year-old man who had been sacked from an apparel company, shot and killed a former co-worker  in New York, USA, 24 August 2012. EPAFILE -  New York City Police Crime investigators gather outside the Empire State Building where a 53-year-old man who had been sacked from an apparel company, shot and killed a former co-worker in New York, USA, 24 August 2012. EPA

Mineola, NY - A North Carolina college student hit by police gunfire during a shooting outside the Empire State Building argued in a lawsuit Tuesday that the police department and the officers involved need better training to deal with such confrontations in the future.

Nine bystanders, including 32-year-old Chenin Duclos, were hit by police bullets, ricochets and fragments when two officers fired at a man suspected of gunning down a former co-worker outside the Manhattan landmark.

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Duclos said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court that the department and the officers were “grossly negligent” in the way they handled the shooting — firing 16 shots on a crowded street outside one of the world’s largest tourist attractions.

Amy Marion, an attorney representing Duclos in the lawsuit, said the NYPD needs to improve training.

“They consistently fail to properly train employees and officers in the settings they will encounter,” she said.

City officials did not immediately comment on Tuesday’s lawsuit. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said after the shooting that they believe the officers followed proper protocol.

Wearing a business suit and carrying an attache bag, Jeffrey Johnson waited for Steven Eroclino outside the Empire State Building in August and opened fire. He then slipped the gun into his bag and calmly walked up the street, police said. Two construction workers who witnessed the shooting followed him and notified the two officers stationed outside the skyscraper as part of the department’s counterterrorism efforts. Video showed Johnson turning, facing the officers and raising his weapon as they opened fire.

The lawsuit contends police were “grossly negligent in not waiting to confront Johnson until he moved to a location where innocent bystanders were not present.”

Marion said she believed the lawsuit filed by Duclos was the first since the shooting, although others have filed notices of claim, signaling their intention to sue.

Duclos is a resident of Chapel Hill, N.C., and is in her second year studying physical therapy at the University of North Carolina. She said recovery from her injuries, including a neck wound and a shattered femur, has slowed her education.

And if not for a detour through New York City, she said she may have never been shot.

She explained she had arrived by train at Grand Central Terminal and was walking with a friend across town to Pennsylvania Station to catch another train to a family reunion in New Jersey when she was shot as she crossed Fifth Avenue and 34th Street.

“I started to hear what I thought were gunshots,” she said. “Everything happened really quickly. People were starting to run, screaming and yelling.”

Moments later she felt what seemed like a punch to her left hip.

“All of a sudden I was on the ground,” she said. “I couldn’t move my leg; I knew I was hit by something but it was really hard to connect with the idea it would be a bullet.”

She said she is still working with physical therapists on regaining her mobility, only using a crutch when absolutely necessary.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.


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1

 Jan 22, 2013 at 12:55 PM Anonymous Says:

maybe it is time for the mayor to also take guns from his police force

it will eliminate these kinds of accidental shootings
sadly the nypd has been involved in too many of these mishaps

2

 Jan 22, 2013 at 01:15 PM cynic Says:

The NYPD mindset is to utilize whatever resources it takes to prevent a Mumbai type of attack. Hence if you're walking around with a gun in midtown or other "high value" target area, and triply so if you've just shot someone, the cops _will_ treat you as a very high risk opponent needing to be taken out right then and there.

3

 Jan 22, 2013 at 01:17 PM GevalDigeh Says:

Reply to number 1. You are so smart. Moiredik. Take away the guns from cops and when a perp runs up to u with a gun u will do what ?? Call 911 oh wai they dont have guns so lets call shomrim or chaverim

4

 Jan 22, 2013 at 02:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
GevalDigeh Says:

Reply to number 1. You are so smart. Moiredik. Take away the guns from cops and when a perp runs up to u with a gun u will do what ?? Call 911 oh wai they dont have guns so lets call shomrim or chaverim

so only cops should have guns?

5

 Jan 22, 2013 at 02:06 PM ALLAN Says:

It is unfortunate that she was hurt and maybe it would be fair to have medical and other expenses covered by NYC. NYPD did what they had to do given the history of what has happened in NYC and elsewhere of recent. This man had just shot another man and was spotted by the police, and he attempted to run. Would anyone be happier had a killer be allowed to get away. He still had a gun on him and the danger to everyone was unknown. NYPD did the best they could in a difficult situation.

6

 Jan 22, 2013 at 02:30 PM ARI Says:

This is not time that the NYCPD has been involved in a shooting, where innocent civilians were hurt. I remember a case in the 1960's, whereby a cop fired at someone in Manhattan, only to miss him, and strike and kill a pedestrian, who was blocks away, and had nothing to do with the incident. In my own community, there was a shooting in the downtown area several months ago, whereby two trigger happy cops on foot, decided to teach a motorist a lesson, whom they claimed try to run them over. They fired numerous shots at the motorist, and wounded him. In the process, some of their bullets bounced off some buildings, and struck and injured a young Mother, who had nothing to do with that confrontation. Those two cops showed atrocious judgment. Many cities, including L.A., ban the police use of firing at a vehicle, which is moving away from them, and is no longer a danger to them. In the NYC case, I hope that the plaintiff collects big time.

7

 Jan 22, 2013 at 04:51 PM awacs Says:

Reply to #3  
GevalDigeh Says:

Reply to number 1. You are so smart. Moiredik. Take away the guns from cops and when a perp runs up to u with a gun u will do what ?? Call 911 oh wai they dont have guns so lets call shomrim or chaverim

What will you do? The same thing a private citizen would do - after all, you're taking away his guns, too.

What's sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander.

8

 Jan 22, 2013 at 05:23 PM clear-thinker Says:

Reply to #6  
ARI Says:

This is not time that the NYCPD has been involved in a shooting, where innocent civilians were hurt. I remember a case in the 1960's, whereby a cop fired at someone in Manhattan, only to miss him, and strike and kill a pedestrian, who was blocks away, and had nothing to do with the incident. In my own community, there was a shooting in the downtown area several months ago, whereby two trigger happy cops on foot, decided to teach a motorist a lesson, whom they claimed try to run them over. They fired numerous shots at the motorist, and wounded him. In the process, some of their bullets bounced off some buildings, and struck and injured a young Mother, who had nothing to do with that confrontation. Those two cops showed atrocious judgment. Many cities, including L.A., ban the police use of firing at a vehicle, which is moving away from them, and is no longer a danger to them. In the NYC case, I hope that the plaintiff collects big time.

Do you remember this case at all? The officers acted completely correctly. You speak about the police shooting someone 50 years ago. Really. You talk about shooting in your community, where a civilian was injured. I know nothing about those incidents, but you obviously have no problem painting with a broad brush.
Why are you talking about firing at a vehicle? Does this case seem at all the same?
You hope they collect big time? I imagine you are not one of those people who wants taxes to go down.
There are enough cases where the police are negligent. Here a person was murdered, and when the police approached the soon to be deceased pulled a gun he had just used to murder someone on them. It is clear, atleast to me, that the police reacted correctly. As to those innocents were wounded, I feel badly for them. Perhaps they should sue the estate of the gunmen. On the assumption he had nothing, the city should probably cover medical expenses.

9

 Jan 22, 2013 at 07:57 PM Ex-New Yorker Says:

To #8- Why shouldn't the city cover this girl's pain and suffering? She will undoubtedly have pain in the area, whee she was shot the rest of her life. What about her mental anguish? It is always easy to downgrade someone else's misfortune. What about the case where an immigrant in Harlem was reaching to show the cops his wallet, to produce ID. The cops fired dozens of shots, and killed that guy; also, what about the Chassidic man in Borough Park who was blown away by the cops, because they stated that he came at them with a hammer. There were conflicting stories about that incident. Instead of the cops calling for backup, they took the easy way out, and shot and killed a mentally deranged individual, who was not posing an immediate threat to them. What about the Sean Bell shooting, where again dozens of rounds were fired at unarmed individuals.

10

 Jan 22, 2013 at 11:54 PM clear-thinker Says:

Reply to #9  
Ex-New Yorker Says:

To #8- Why shouldn't the city cover this girl's pain and suffering? She will undoubtedly have pain in the area, whee she was shot the rest of her life. What about her mental anguish? It is always easy to downgrade someone else's misfortune. What about the case where an immigrant in Harlem was reaching to show the cops his wallet, to produce ID. The cops fired dozens of shots, and killed that guy; also, what about the Chassidic man in Borough Park who was blown away by the cops, because they stated that he came at them with a hammer. There were conflicting stories about that incident. Instead of the cops calling for backup, they took the easy way out, and shot and killed a mentally deranged individual, who was not posing an immediate threat to them. What about the Sean Bell shooting, where again dozens of rounds were fired at unarmed individuals.

Mixing cases doesn't prove anything. If the police did not show negligence, which I would argue the didn't, the city owes the victims nothing. I am not downgrading anyone's suffering, I am merely saying that the law does not hold the city responsible for everything that happens. Since you are an ex new yorker I guess you forgot where incidents happen. the Haitian guy was from Africa, and he was shot in the Bronx. The city did pay, because the police acted negligently. As to your other two cases, understand that I am not arguing that people should recover if the police acted wrongly. New York City should not be a cash cow to "fix" anything that happens where it is not the fault of employees of the City.

11

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