Police fired several shots at an emotionally disturbed man near Times Square Saturday night believing he had a weapon. But police missed the man and wounded two innocent bystanders. Lori Bordonaro reports.
A 35-year-old man was speaking to dead relatives he heard in his head and had tried to throw himself in front of cars to kill himself a block from Times Square in a night-time disturbance in which two bystanders were wounded and people went running for cover from police fire, according to court documents Wednesday.
Glenn Broadnax pleaded not guilty to felony assault and reckless endangerment in the Sept. 14 disturbance on a busy Manhattan street, though he had earlier been charged with lesser crimes. His attorney, Rigodis Appling, said Broadnax was the victim.
"There's video shot by bystanders in Times Square which show my client not being violent and not being aggressive, in fact running around disoriented and scared," she said.
Police were called to the scene, near the Port Authority Bus Terminal shortly before 10 p.m. after reports of a man behaving erratically and dodging traffic. As officers approached, the man reached into his pocket as if grabbing a weapon, and two officers fired a total of three shots, police said. The bullets struck a 54-year-old woman in the right knee and grazed a 35-year-old woman in the buttocks, police said.
"Mr. Broadnax never imaged that his behavior could ever cause them to shoot at him," his lawyer said.
Photos and video taken by onlookers showed a frenzied scene. Several officers tried to contain the man as he moved through an intersection, and he was finally brought down as people in the crowd yelled at police not to shoot him. He was subdued with a stun gun.
No weapon was found.
"My client never had any weapons on him. They claim he had a black object in his hand that caused him to shoot," Appling said.
But Assistant District Attorney Lucey said Broadnax created the situation that injured bystanders.
According to court documents, Broadnax told investigators he was talking to dead relatives, and had gotten high and didn't remember anything about being near Times Square, other than falling and cutting his hand. Marijuana and methamphetamine were recovered from him, according to court documents.
As standard procedure, the shooting by the officers is being reviewed by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office to determine whether to investigate them, and then the department will review it.