Police Shoot NYC Bystanders, Kill Unarmed Man in NC

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 15 2013 10:44 AM

Police Shoot Bystanders in NYC, Kill Unarmed Man in North Carolina Who Was Seeking Help

Saturday appeared to be a trigger-happy day for police in the United States as officers opened fire against unarmed men in two different states. One ended tragically, the other bizarre encounter could have ended much worse.

First, in Charlotte, North Carolina, an unarmed man who was likely seeking help was shot and killed early Saturday morning. Police say officers were responding to a 911 call placed by a woman who said someone she didn't know was knocking on her front door. Nearby, a man matching the description began running toward the police officers. An officer tried to fire his Taser, but failed and then another officer shot 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell multiple times, reports the Charlotte Observer He was killed at the scene. Police later found his wrecked car and say it’s likely he was looking for help from the person who had called 911.

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Later, in New York, two police officers hit a pair of innocent bystanders Saturday night when they opened fire on a 35-year-old man who reportedly pretended to point a gun at them—with his hands, reports the New York Daily News. The man was reportedly acting erratically near the Port Authority Bus Terminal, close to Times Square, when two officers confronted him. He then “reached into his pocket, took out his hand, and simulated as if he was shooting at them,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. The officers fired three shots, missing the man but hitting a 54-year-old woman in the knee and grazing a a 35-year-old woman in the buttocks, according to CBS News. “The only thing the individual had on his person was a wallet which was recovered from his right rear pocket,” Kelly said.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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