Did the NYPD Use Excessive Force on Darius Kennedy in Times Square?

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By Alissa Fleck By now everyone in the City has heard about the shooting by the NYPD of a knife-wielding man in Times Square this weekend. After the incident, officers did what they could to control the flow of information, reported Gothamist, including seizing onlookers' phones and cameras. Despite their best efforts, tons of witnesses were on the street capturing the chaos, and video footage which did make it to the internet shows throngs of police officers pursuing the man, who is practically dancing down the street. Was the NYPD's reaction-the fatal shooting-overly extreme in taking down the deranged man? The family of Darius Kennedy, the knife-carrying victim, says the police used excessive force when they shot him. The Daily News reports Kennedy's aunt said 12 bullets should not have been used to subdue him, perhaps just one as a warning. NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly called the shooting "justified and appropriate," and Mayor Bloomberg backed up Kelly's assessment. Officers had already pepper-sprayed Kennedy, who had ten prior arrests on his record, six times to no avail. The NY Post reports none of the 20 cops in pursuit of the man had tasers in their possession. Police Reporter Leonard Levitt called the shooting "Totally justified." "If any bystander or even a cop was wounded because the cops held back, there'd be hell to pay," said Levitt. "Only question: how come they didnt use a taser?" NYPD Spokesman Paul Browne said: "Only patrol sergeants and Emergency Service Unit cops are routinely armed with tasers." The Daily News reports the NYPD fatally shot eight people last year, and only uses deadly force "sparingly" according to police officials.

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