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NYPD officers' shooting of bystanders under review

The intersection of 42nd Avenue and 8th Street,

The intersection of 42nd Avenue and 8th Street, a block from Times Square in Manhattan, is blocked off after two police officers opened fired on a man who was acting erratically, wounding two bystanders, authorities said. The man, who was not wounded, was eventually arrested. (Sept. 14, 2013) Credit: CS Muncy

NYPD brass are investigating the actions of officers who shot two bystanders Saturday night outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal after missing their target -- an apparently emotionally disturbed man.

The two officers, who fired three rounds total, have turned their handguns over to investigators and have been placed on administrative duties while the matter is reviewed by the NYPD firearms discharge review board, a spokesman said.

The probe is done in all police shootings and will take several days, the NYPD spokesman said.

The review is noncriminal in nature and will focus on what the officers did and how future procedures could be changed. Although the Manhattan district attorney's office conducts its own investigation into police shootings, a spokeswoman for the office declined to comment Monday.

NYPD spokesman John McCarthy said Saturday's shooting was the first this year where police wounded a bystander, compared with 13 at the same time in 2012, a year in which officers fired at and killed a murderous gunman outside the Empire State Building on Fifth Avenue, but also hit several bystanders. So far this year, police have fired their weapons 27 times, compared with 42 for the same time in 2012, McCarthy said.

Two women were wounded shortly after 9:30 p.m. when a group of uniformed officers surrounded Broadnax, 35, of Brooklyn as he walked in an out of traffic at Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street, investigators said. After Broadnax put his hand in his pocket and took it out simulating that he was shooting, one officer fired once while another shot twice, police said. The rounds missed Broadnax and hit the bystanders, police said.

A woman, 54, was wounded in the knee while another, 35, was grazed on the buttocks. The 35-year-old was released Monday from Roosevelt Hospital while the 54-year-old remained at Bellevue Hospital in stable condition, McCarthy said.

McCarthy said one of the officers was on the force for about 18 months while the other was a three-year veteran. He wouldn't identify them.

Officers shot Broadnax with a stun gun and arrested him. He was charged with menacing, obstructing governmental administration and other offenses, officials said.

Witnesses told investigators they thought Broadnax had a gun, based on how he was acting, McCarthy said.

While some questioned why police opened fire in a crowded street in an area trafficked by tourists, one veteran detective said the officers had to make split-second decisions.

"You are damned if you do and damned if you don't," said Joseph L. Giacalone, an author and instructor in police methods.

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