In a Q&A interview, Newsweek.com questions former police officer Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, about whether “contagious shooting” could explain last week’s fatal shooting of an unarmed groom-to-be.
O’Donnell said, “New York City cops in a year, 36,000 of them, working 24/7, millions of interactions with people, get into 100 shootings. And 80 percent of the time they miss the target. In New York, it’s more about when you don’t shoot. You don’t shoot warning shots. You don’t shoot to scare people. You don’t shoot to punish people. You don’t shoot to disarm people. You don’t shoot dogs. You don’t shoot moving vehicles or from moving vehicles. But when police officers, irrespective of whatever training they get, believe they’re going to die, they’re going to fire as many shots as they need to extinguish what they perceive to be the threat … In some sense, the easiest task is teaching the cops when to shoot or not shoot. It’s much more difficult to teach them when to stop shooting.”