Investigators are reviewing the fatal weekend shooting of a disturbed, knife-wielding man near Times Square but are not expected to change the initial assessment that NYPD cops acted lawfully, according to law enforcement sources.
The results of the NYPD and prosecutor's probes are expected to be turned over to a grand jury, something done in all police shootings, said one of the sources.
Darrius Kennedy, 51, who had a Hempstead address, was hit at least seven times after two officers fired a total of 12 rounds Saturday afternoon.
Police said he repeatedly lunged at the officers with a knife on Seventh Avenue in full view of hundreds of onlookers. No one else was injured in the confrontation.
At a news conference Sunday, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said Kennedy had been brandishing the 11 1/2-inch kitchen knife "like an ice pick over his head" before he was shot. Commissioner Ray Kelly said that Kennedy had another run-in with police in 2008. It was then that Kennedy knocked over garbage cans in Times Square and was deemed emotionally disturbed by police, Browne said.
Officials said Monday that officers armed with Tasers were on their way during the standoff but didn't get there before the officers confronting Kennedy decided to fire.
A patrol sergeant and an Emergency Services Unit had the Tasers. NYPD protocols on the use of Tasers allow ESU cops and patrol sergeants to carry the stun guns, not individual patrol officers, officials said.
Browne said that in situations like Saturday's confrontation "the overarching consideration concerning the use of deadly force is whether the officer or another person present is in danger of loss of life or serious injury."
Tasers carry high-voltage electrical charges through darts that can disable a person. The guns are used by a number of police agencies, including those in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, said officials of both departments.
A 2011 report on Tasers by the New York Civil Liberties Union said that only the NYPD and Suffolk police appeared to warn cops about targeting sensitive areas such as the chest with Tasers as a way of avoiding serious injury or death.
Relatives of Kennedy said that police could have fired a warning shot or hit him in an arm or leg first. But one official said that even if the NYPD supervisor or ESU units had arrived with Tasers it likely wouldn't have been in time to avert the shooting.