After Friendly Fire Fatality, NYPD Boosts Diversity

Commissioner pledged to improve diversity and confrontation training

New York's top cop is honoring a commitment to improve diversity in the department's upper ranks following the fatal shooting of an off-duty black officer by a white police officer in May.
Commissioner Raymond Kelly has tapped several Hispanic And black commanders for promotion. A ceremony is scheduled for today.

In a letter to Gov. David Paterson, Kelly pledged to improve diversity and confrontation training among officers after the May 28 shooting of Omar Edwards.

Edwards, 25, was in plain clothes and just blocks from the Harlem police station where he worked when he drew his gun to pursue a man who had broken into his car.  Three plainclothes officers on routine patrol arrived at the scene and yelled for the two to stop, police said. One officer, Andrew Dunton, opened fire and hit Edwards three times as he turned toward them with his service weapon.  The shooter was white and Edwards was black.

The event stirred calls for more diversity in the upper ranks of the NYPD -- though Kelly's letter to Paterson noted that minority officers in the NYPD are generally promoted more quickly than white officers of the same rank.

Shortly after the shooting, Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the Police Department, said the NYPD was immediately scrapping scheduled training on courtroom testimony and replacing it with “confrontation training." 

As of last month, a majority of the rank-and-file officers were members of minorities, the department said. Among officers, 28.7 percent were Hispanic; 18 percent black; 5.4 percent Asian; and 47.8 percent white, the New York Times reported.

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