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Letter: Police Using Deadly Force (New York Times)

To the Editor:

Re “Officials Defend Fatal Shooting of a Knife-Wielding Man Near Times Sq.” (news article, Aug. 13):

Reporting that “experts on police procedure” said the officers “did what they were trained to do,” the article quoted the Philadelphia police commissioner explaining that officers are trained to shoot at torsos, not limbs.

But serious questions remain about whether the officers should have been firing at all or should have fired as many times as they did. Under New York Police Department policy and Supreme Court law interpreting the Constitution, officers are allowed to use deadly physical force only if necessary and only to the extent necessary.

A more searching examination of this shooting would have required The Times — and will require the police department — to explore whether it was necessary to fire at a man with a knife reportedly trapped against a wall and surrounded by police officers.

Christopher Dunn
Associate Legal Director, New York Civil Liberties Union

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