Police may have delayed calling for an ambulance in the tragic friendly-fire incident that claimed the life of a promising NYPD rookie, according to a preliminary internal NYPD report.
Officer Omar Edwards, 25, was in street clothes on May 28 when he chased a man who broke into his car in East Harlem and was fatally shot by plainclothes officers who did not realize he was a cop. The report gave the impression that the officers did not call an ambulance until after it was determined that Edwards, who was bleeding and cuffed, was a police officer.
NYPD chief spokesman Paul Browne disputed that contention, telling The New York Times. that preliminary reports are often riddled with inaccuracies and shaky information.
The 12-page report contains the summaries of initial interviews with the two officers who were riding with Officer Andrew Dunton, who fired the fatal shots. The department also interviewed other officers who arrived on the scene to provide medical assistance. However, there is no firsthand account from Officer Dunton.
Sgt. John T. Anzelino and Officer John D. Musante were with Officer Dunton in an unmarked car that night. Anzelino, 35, was in the backseat and Musante, 28, was driving when the three police officers came upon Officer Edwards with his gun out chasing a man in a Harlem Street.
The report says Dunton got out of the passenger side of the unmarked car to confront Edwards and the other man. Edwards had his gun in his hand when Officer Dunton twice said: "Police. Stop. Drop the gun." The report indicates Dunton fired six times as Edwards he turned toward him. It was the first time Dunton had ever fired his firearm in the line of duty.
Officer Musante said he saw “Officer Edwards turn with his gun pointed in the direction of them, the officers,” according to the report. The report said Sgt. Anzelino was falling out of the car at the same time he saw Officer Edwards turn. The car was still rolling when he fell out of it.
Gov. David Paterson is meeting with community leaders today as he decides whether to call for an independent investigation into the shooting. Officer Edwards was black and Officer Dunton is white, raising concerns about race contributing to the incident.