An emotionally disturbed unarmed has been charged with assault after police found him to be responsible for the NYPD’s shooting of two innocent bystanders. Glenn Broadnax, 35, of Brooklyn was shot at by police after reaching into his pants pocket. The police say they thought he was pulling out a gun so they opened fire, missing Broadnax, but hitting two women present during the September 14 incident in Times Square.
He was found to be causing a disturbance at 42nd Street and Eighth avenue, throwing himself into the path on oncoming traffic. Broadnax was eventually knocked down by a police officer with a Taser.
Initially Mr. Broadnax was arrested on misdemeanor charges of menacing, drug possession and resisting arrest. But the Manhattan district attorney’s office persuaded a grand jury to charge Mr. Broadnax with assault, a felony carrying a maximum sentence of 25 years. Specifically, the nine-count indictment unsealed on Wednesday said Mr. Broadnax “recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death.”
“The defendant is the one that created the situation that injured innocent bystanders,” said an assistant district attorney, Shannon Lucey.
The officers have been placed on administrative duty pending an investigation into how they handled the incident. They also face an internal Police Department inquiry. A lawyer for Mr. Broadnax said he suffered from anxiety and depression and was disoriented and afraid when police shot at him. He was reaching for his wallet, not a gun.
According to court documents, Broadnax was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center after his arrest, where he told detectives that “he was talking to dead relatives in his head and that he tried throwing himself in front of cars to kill himself.”
Should Broadnax be charged with assault for the actions of the officers?
How big of a role should his mental/emotional state play in the incident?
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