Cops fired in self-defense when they killed an apparently disturbed man who confronted them with a knife Sunday morning in Manhattan, said NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly.
Emmanuel Paulino, 24, was shot on Vermilye Street in Washington Heights by police after he backed cops up against a wall with a knife, said Kelly. "We have witnesses who indicate the officers couldn't back up any further and fired in self-defense," Kelly said Monday.
But activist Fernando Matteo, a spokesman for Paulino's family, said the cops mishandled the situation. Since Paulino called 911 operators saying he wanted to kill police, the cops should have known they were dealing with an emotionally disturbed person, said Matteo.
Kelly said Paulino had called 911 operators about 5:15 a.m. Police used cell phone tower triangulation to get an approximate location and then called the number back, at which time Paulino answered. When asked what was going on, Paulino responded "you'll find out when you get here," said Kelly.
After finding Paulino in the street with a knife, police called for an emergency services unit, which is trained to handle emotionally disturbed people, said Kelly.
But when Paulino continued to approach, one officer fired two Taser darts at him. Paulino pulled one dart out of his body, so the electrical circuit couldn't disable him, Kelly said. Police finally fired at Paulino nine times. He died at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, said Kelly.
Matteo said Paulino's family was outraged over the release by the NYPD of the 911 tape of Paulino's disturbed rant and threats.
"They didn't even wait for the body to be cold before they leaked out the tape to get public opinion on their side," said Matteo. "That is what really hurt the family."
The NYPD often release 911 tapes in shootings in which cops are involved.