Tabloids React To NYPD Shooting Two Women Near Times Square By Writing About "Gangbangers" and "Drug Thugs"
On Saturday night, as you've likely heard, the NYPD tried to shoot a disturbed man as he was running in and out of traffic near the Port Authority. Instead, they hit two women standing nearby. Theodora Ray, 54, was hit twice in the leg; according to friends interviewed by CBS, she remained hospitalized at Bellevue Sunday night, recovering from surgery. Sahara Khoshakhlagh, 35, was grazed in the buttocks, treated, and released from Roosevelt Hospital Saturday night. Her husband told the New York Post they'd decided not to comment, leaving the Post to deal with their larger problem: how does a newspaper cover the NYPD's shooting of two random bystanders in the most flattering possible light?
Image by Twitter user Kerri Ann Nesbeth Theodora Ray, 54, after being accidentally shot by the NYPD.
This particular shooting was, by any measure, a tough one for both the Post and the Daily News. Shooting guns in one of the city's most crowded areas appears to be a really bad idea, and the cops eventually managed to bring 35-year-old Glenn Broadnax under control by surrounding him and using a Taser.
The police later said that Broadnax served at least one prison stint for robbery -- two, according to the Post -- and has a long list of other arrests, including one last year for assault. He apparently told investigators later that his reason for running around in traffic was, as he put it, "I had a mission to kill myself."
Broadnax appears to have brought on his not-shooting by reaching into his pants pocket and pretending to shoot at the cops. With his hand. This, according to the Post, is because he's a "coke-snorting career criminal," and that by pretending to shoot with his hand, he was "daring the officers to fire." (The NYPD is obligated by law to take dares.)
"Sometimes when they do that, go into their pockets like that, they want to die. They want you to shoot them," one of the paper's ever-helpful anonymous police sources said. "You have that split second to decide, and if you're wrong . . . , if they have a gun and you don't think they do, they can blast you away."
The Daily News' Mike Lupica, meanwhile, responded to the shooting with a convoluted column about how although the shooting wasn't justified, the real tragedy here is that people will say mean things about the NYPD. By acting "good and crazy", he wrote, Broadnax is guilty of "starting a chain reaction where this time the stray bullets in what is still a city of stray bullets come from guns carried by cops."
Lupica goes through several other incidents where the cops shot at people for what he deems good reasons, and even somehow works in a reference to the "gangbanger" who recently shot one-year-old Antiq Hennis before finally returning to his point. "No gun this time on Broadnax," he writes, "who was only armed with a wallet and that MetroCard. Bullets were in the air anyway, hitting two women out on a Saturday night in the city. Now people get to react as if New York City cops constantly act this recklessly, even though that isn't even an interesting fiction."
Lupica worries that the shooting will turn the NYPD "into a target all over again." Yet with both mayoral candidates absolutely silent about the whole incident, that doesn't seem very likely. Meanwhile, according to the Times, Broadnax was still in policy custody at Bellevue Sunday night. He's charged with menacing, obstructing governmental administration, riot, criminal possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The police officers have not been identified.