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#2888: Cop who shot unarmed man put on desk duty (fwd)
Cop who shot unarmed man put on desk
By TOM HAYS, Associated Press
Writer NEW YORK (AP) -- The
undercover narcotics officer who killed an unarmed black man during a
buy-and-bust operation in midtown Manhattan has been stripped of his gun
and badge amid a grand jury investigation. The officer, Detective
Anthony Vasquez, will remain on desk duty pending the outcome of the
probe of the shooting of Patrick Dorismond, officials said Friday.
Dorismond's family joined the Rev. Al Sharpton and other black
activists in calling on federal authorities to investigate the incident,
which followed last month's acquittal of four
officers in the killing of West African immigrant Amadou Diallo and the
fatal police shooting of another unarmed black man a week later. They
also accused officials of demonizing the victim by releasing his record
of petty crime.
''Somebody killed my son!'' Marie Dorismond, a Haitian immigrant,
wailed during a news conference outside her Brooklyn apartment building.
''My son was never a criminal. ... What is this lie?''Sharpton said he
had asked Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to meet with him on
Monday; Lynch declined comment. A spokesman for Manhattan U.S.
Attorney Mary Jo White said she would be monitoring the case.
Sharpton also criticized Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for urging the news
media ''not to jump to conclusions'' about the officer's conduct. ''He
ought to tell the police to stop jumping to conclusions,'' Sharpton
said.The mayor, appearing at the St. Patrick's Day parade, and police
officials refused to discuss the shooting Friday.Dorismond was killed
shortly after midnight Thursday during a struggle with undercover
officers on Eighth Avenue near West 37th Street. Police sources said
Dorismond, 26, an off-duty security guard, grew angry when one of the
officers approached and asked if he and another man knew where he could
buy marijuana.Officials said the two men attacked the undercover
officer,prompting Vasquez and another back-up officer to move in.
During the ensuing scuffle, Vasquez's pistol somehow went off, and a
bullet hit Dorismond in the chest. Phillip Karasyk, a lawyer for
Vasquez, said the gun discharged accidentally after Dorismond punched
Vasquez, ignored shouts of ''Police!'' and grabbed the weapon.
If that hadn't happened, the gun wouldn't have discharged,'' Karasyk
told The New York Times. ''He made contact with the gun. The guy is
grabbing the gun and the gun goes off,'' he added.
When asked Thursday what sparked the deadly confrontation, Police
Commissioner Howard Safir responded in part by reciting Dorismond's
arrest history: as a teen-ager for robbery and assault; in 1993 for
attempted robbery and assault; and in 1996 for criminal possession of
a weapon. Court officials and prosecutors said Friday that the 1993
and 1996 charges were all misdemeanors. In both cases,Dorismond was
allowed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct and perform community
service. The earlier juvenile case was dropped.
The National Coalition for Haitian Rights called on Safir to apologize
to Dorismond's family and the city's Haitian community. ''We are
outraged that Mr. Safir stooped to using character assassination as the
first line of defense to explain away the senseless killing,'' the group
said in a statement.
At his mother's home on Friday, the victim was remembered as a devoted
father of two daughters, ages 5 and 1, a lover of reggae music and
someone who spoke of one day becoming a police officer. Mourners had
erected a makeshift shrine in the lobby with candles, flowers and
tributes scribbled on notebook paper. ''God bless you Patrick,'' one
read. The family is ''upset right now and there's no explanation,''
said Kena Smith, 23, aunt of Dorismond's youngest child.For the girls,
she added, ''We're going to have to be the father now because of some