New York City police officers are divided over one cop’s inadvertent shooting of a fellow off-duty cop last Saturday, reports the New York Times. Eric Hernandez had pulled his service weapon on a man who beat him at a fast-food restaurant. Alfredo Toro, in uniform, fired after Hernandez refused to drop the gun.
More than a dozen current and former New York Police Department officers and officials said that Toro seemed to follow proper procedure to the letter. Hernandez appeared to make serious mistakes: taking his gun on a night of bar-hopping, his not responding to a uniformed officer’s commands, and his apparent failure to identify himself as an officer, among other things. The police manual is clear that carrying a gun while intoxicated is forbidden. Prof. Eugene O’Donnell, a former officer who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said it was unreasonable to expect officers not to drink. “They’re supposed to be fit for duty, but you have to live in the real world,” O’Donnell said. “The kind of people who get into police work are earthy people, they’re street people, people who are gregarious and social.”