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May 25, 2010 - 6:11pm

Sheriff concerned about 'minimum force' bill in Assembly

posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, new york, Gary Maha.

Sheriff Gary Maha calls a pending Assembly bill which would require cops to shoot a suspect only to wound him -- presumably aiming for an arm or a leg -- "ridiculous."

mug_gary_maha.jpgThe so-called "minimum force" bill says, "(a peace officer or police officer) uses such force with the intent to stop, rather than kill, the person who he or she reasonably believes is using unlawful force, and uses only the minimal amount of force necessary to effect such stop."

No shooting course teaches law enforcement officers to aim at limbs, Maha noted.

The first job of a cop in a dangerous situation is to protect himself and the people he's sworn to serve, Maha said.

"Deadly physical force, under the (current) law, can only be used as a last resort, under extreme circumstances," Maha told WBTA. "You're going to put more pressure on the officer if he has to shoot to wound. You're putting that officer in jeopardy."

Under provisions of the bill, any officer accused of shooting to kill another person in the line of duty would be charged with manslaughter.

The bill is sponsored by Annette Robinson (D-Bedford Stuyvesant) and Darryl Towns (D-East New York).

While the "minimum force" bill hasn't died, it is languishing in committee and is still drawing reaction from New York's law enforcement community.

A New York detective told the New York Post that the bill would create a situation where cops are expected to shoot the gun out of the hands of suspect, while the criminal would still be firing with the intent to kill. It's been called the "John Wayne" bill because it requires a level of accuracy only seen in Hollywood Westerns.

"These are split-second, spontaneous events -- and officers have to make a full assessment in a fraction of a second," said an angry Michael Paladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association.

The bill was drafted in response to the shooting death of Sean Bell, a man who was killed by police following a fight at a strip club where he was celebrating his bachelor party. An undercover officer reportedly heard Bell say at some point that he had a gun. In the melee that followed, Bell reportedly slammed his Nissan into a police vehicle.

Photo: File photo of Sheriff Gary Maha.

George Richardson
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Well Sheriff Maha, if it becomes law you had better learn to live with it or get your retirement papers in order now. It's just like the laws they pass that average citizens hate, you're not special.
Dave Olsen
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This shows you just how stupid the idiots are who are supposed to making laws to run this state by. It also shows you how strong and influential the lawyer lobby is. It also shows how stupid they think the average taxpayer/voter is. More lawsuits, more taxpayer money going into their pockets. These jerks don't care a whit about someone being shot by cops and they obviously don't care about the cops either. Utter stupidity.
Brian Schollard
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More hand wringing NYC Liberals and others that come up with and support garbage legislation like this. Its a SLAP in the FACE to every police officer in the country! If I felt that a criminal were going to kill me, they better have their affairs in order because they will not see the light of day ever again.
John Roach
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This same bill was pushed by then State Senator David Patterson. Lucky for us, it never got out of Committee.
Mike Weaver
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What a waste of time. Some knucklehead legislator thinks they can legislate split second life and death decisions for a police officer and then throw them in a court room afterward. Hey NY legislators.. Go work on the budget and be productive for a change.
Jeremiah Pedro
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Really? The state legislature wants to tie the hand of Law enforcement like this. How about they start working for the law abiding citizens. Better yet I know lets take the guns away from the law enforcement altogether. Then we can follow that up by taking the guns away from law abiding citizens. Then we wont have to worry about anyone shooting anyone. Oh wait that's right the criminals aren't likely to hand their guns over so people will still be getting shot.
Janice Stenman
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This law is assinine. Police officers already put their lives on the line, now the state would make it a crime to use deadly force? Ridiculous!
John Roach
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CM, What do you think of this proposed law?
Tom Guentner
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That's why your never suppose to point a gun @ anyone your not intending to KILL...........
Dave Olsen
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Look at where the 2 sponsors are from; Bed-Stuy and East NYC, their constituents feel persecuted by the NYPD. It is classic politics for an election year. If it fails, they can vow to keep fighting, if it passes (hope not) they can both expect huge contributions from the attorney groups. Win Win for 2 smarmy politicians. Let's hope the good people in their districts wise up and realize they are being manipulated, and made less-safe.
Jeremiah Pedro
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Dave--- Unfortunately the sheeple in their districts will not accept that they are being manipulated nor believe anyone that tells them so. It's a sad state of affairs in NYC.

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