Why Police Shot Civilians At The Empire State Building
No matter how much training you have, this will happen in crowded area during an battle. And this is why more guns in more places, in the hands of more people, won’t make us safer.
“No matter how realistic their training is, it can never prepare an officer for a shooting,” says Dr. David Klinger, a former Los Angeles police officer and current criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who has interviewed hundreds of police officers involved in shootings. According to Klinger, the most effective training technique is what’s known as “force on force” training, where officers are put into active shooter scenarios and use modified paint balls (“Simunition”) in their service weapons. Force on force training is a component of both the NYPD’s recruit training, and re-training for active duty officers (all NYPD officers must go through firearms re-qualification twice a year). But it’s essentially impossible for a police force of 35,000 officers facing constant budget crunches to completely train all of its members for every situation.
“There are professionals I work with who you would see that they’re going to be able to stop a threat, will shoot the right number of bullets, and keep civilians as safe as possible,” says Klinger. “But unless this is something you train for on a daily or weekly basis, it’s not something you can be truly prepared for.”
Even when officers do everything right, other officers and bystanders can be hit by bullets or bullet fragments that ricochet or pass through a suspect. With none of the nine Empire bystanders who were hit facing life-threatening wounds, there’s a good chance that ricochets or pass-throughs accounted for many of the injuries.