NYPD Says Shooting Of Man With Toy Gun Appears Justified
By: NY1 News
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The NYPD is defending the actions of two police officers who fatally shot a man in Brooklyn whom they said refused to drop a toy gun that appeared real.
In Bedford-Stuyvesant Tuesday, according to authorities, 39-year-old Ernest Prather threatened some people after an argument with a realistic fake gun with metal parts in a waist holster. The two responding officers said they shot him after he drew the gun and refused continued orders to surrender what they thought was a real semi-automatic weapon.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Wednesday said a preliminary investigation indicated the officers acted properly.
“There's a process where this information is given to a district attorney's office, that's then presented to a grand jury, if need be, so this is a somewhat protracted proceeding,” Kelly said. “But right now, based on the information we have, it appears to be a justifiable shooting.”
Some witnesses have disputed the account of the two officers, who remain on modified duty while the internal investigation continues.
Meanwhile, a police fraternal group is pushing to outlaw realistic toy guns to prevent similar incidents in the future. The group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement wants legislation to require toys to have a shape that can’t be mistaken for a real weapon, not just a different color, which could be painted over.
The group is also starting a program to collect toy guns already in the hands of children by trading books for them.
“When you respond to a gun run, it is the most dangerous assignment a police officer can go to,” Eric Adams, the head of the group, said. “When you get there, the last thing on your mind is to do an interview [to determine] if a person is carrying a real gun or not.”