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#2892: Shooting Questions Hang in Air (fwd)


Shooting Questions Hang in  Air 
By PATRICE O'SHAUGHNESSY  Daily News Staff Writer
Original Publication Date: 03/19/2000 

As a Manhattan grand jury sorts out the fatal police shooting of Patrick
Dorismond, several troubling questions remain: Why did police approach
Dorismond?Police said an undercover buy-and-bust team spotted  
Dorismond and Kevin Kaiser outside the Wakamba Cocktail Lounge, near a
known drug-activity area.The officers did not report seeing Dorismond
and Kaiser exchanging money or items, or see other evidence of a drug  
sale, police said. But an undercover cop does not need probable cause to
approach.  Why did the verbal confrontation between the undercover cop
and Dorismond escalate into a physical struggle? Police officials said
that when Detective Anderson Moran  asked if Dorismond or his friend was
selling marijuana, Dorismond took offense and cursed and yelled at the
cop to  get away. Moran said, "Relax, forget about it," but Dorismond 
threw a punch. Kaiser has said that Dorismond told Moran, "Get out of my
face," but that Moran continued to ask where he could score,following
them down the block. Kaiser said Moran hit Dorismond first. A police
source theorized that when Dorismond rejected  Moran's question, the cop
probably cursed back at him, reacting like a street person to maintain
his cover. Why didn't Moran walk away after Dorismond's initial       
answer? The police source said an undercover cop has to persist,      
because many dealers will say no at first. Asked if this approach is too
intrusive and risky, the source said such interactions are necessary to
rid streets of drug  dealers. Any time cops confront someone there is
danger, but other factors can heighten the potential: the cop's
experience and level of aggressiveness and the attitude of the person   
confronted. How did Detective Anthony Vasquez become involved, and why
did he have his gun drawn? Vasquez and another cop, "ghosts" or backups
for Moran, were standing several feet away and heard Moran give the     
code for distress: "Are you trying to rob me?" They ran to help      
him, seeing him brawling with two large men. Police officials say it is
not unusual for a backup officer to have his weapon ready when helping a
cop under attack.  Why was a shot fired from Vasquez's gun? His lawyer
said the shooting was an accident, caused by Dorismond lunging for the
gun after Vasquez identified himself as a cop. Dorismond's family and
supporters accuse Vasquez of being overly aggressive and trigger-happy.
Civilian witnesses say  Dorismond and Kaiser didn't know the men they
were scuffling with were cops. Police sources said Moran and the other
backup reported  hearing "Police!" shouted during the brawl, but they
could not say who yelled it.Kaiser reportedly yelled, "Get the gun!"
during the fight, but his words could have been interpreted by the cops
as instructing Dorismond to pull a weapon. He was unarmed.

 Why was Police Commissioner Howard Safir quick to announce that
Dorismond had a criminal record,including a sealed juvenile arrest for
robbery and assault? Police officials say they typically release
background information of officers involved in a shooting incident, as
well  as relevant background information of the civilian involved,     
such as arrest history. Although police officials said yesterday that
"the public has the  right to know this information," Dorismond's family
and supporters called it a cold attempt to make the shooting seem