Woman injured in Empire State Building shooting sues NYPD

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jan 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-22 23:17:38-05

It’s believed to be the first lawsuit against the city and the NYPD since nine innocent bystanders were hit by police bullets, richochets or fragments outside the Empire State Building last August.  Filed in state Supreme Court by a North Carolina woman, it charges the city with being “grossly negligent.”

32-year-old Chemin Duclos was one of nine bystanders hit when two officers fired at a man who had just killed a former co-worker.  She names the city, the NYPD  and officers Craig Matthews and Robert Sinishtaj, claiming they were negligent in the manner they handled the shooting, firing 16 shots on a crowded street.  “Clearly, innocent people were injured who didn’t need to be.  Police need better training in the use of weapons,” Duclos said.

Police shot and killed Jeffrey Johnson after he pulled a gun from an attache case.  Moments earlier he executed Steven Ercolino in front of horrified bystanders.  Police confirmed that all nine pedestrians were struck by the officer’s bullets or fragments.

Duclose attorney, Amy Marion, said the purpose of the suit is to bring about change in the NYPD and provide better training in the use of weapons, tactics and procedures.  The legal action also calls for unspecified monetary damages.

The NYPD quickly defended its action.  Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne issued this statement: “A killer had struck just moments earlier, and police had every reason to believe he would kill again when he pulled his gun out a second time. They had no choice but to end the threat.”   The city’s legal department has vowed to “vigorously”  defend the city, the NYPD and the officers involved.