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Home  >  Topics  >  Investigations

April 14, 2009
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N.Y. police shootings suggest suicide by cop, but evidence is murky

By Al Baker
New York Times

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NEW YORK — An ex-convict with a knife grabs a parole officer in Queens and is shot dead. A screaming woman slashes a uniformed police officer with a 12-inch kitchen knife inside her apartment in Brooklyn. She, too, is killed.

On Sunday, a man wildly swung a knife in his Bronx apartment at a group of specially trained and armored officers, saying, “I don’t care about killing myself.” After failing to subdue him with rubber bullets and Taser jolts, officers with the Emergency Services Unit shot the man dead.

In each of these instances in the last two weeks, a desperate person was at the center of a swirl of violence. Bullets flew from officers’ guns. Another fatal police shooting was logged. But were these cases the planned final acts of people intent on luring police officers into shooting them, a phenomenon known in law enforcement circles and criminal justice academia as “suicide by cop”? Or were they something muddier?

Read full story: Shootings in New York suggest 'suicide by cop,' but evidence is murky

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