P1 Special Report: NYPD officer's throat slashed, saved by partner

by Senior PoliceOne Contributor Scott Buhrmaster

We share the following news item because of its inherent training value. Although there are few details currently available of this incident, it serves as a jarring reminder of some critical points that we will share at the end of the news report.

Queens Man Accused of Slashing N.Y. Officer's Throat Faces Attempted-Murder Charge

The Associated Press

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A Queens man who slashed a police officer's throat with a carpet knife, narrowly missing a critical artery, faces charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault on a police officer and first-degree assault, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The man, Radcliffe Meeks, 33, was shot in the elbow by the wounded officer's partner, authorities said.

Meeks remained hospitalized on Wednesday and hadn't been arraigned, said a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Prosecutors would not know whether he had a lawyer until his arraignment, spokeswoman Meris Campbell said. There was no listed phone number for Meeks at the address provided by prosecutors.

The slashing took place at about 8 p.m. Tuesday, when the officers were responding to a call of a man with a gun.

When the officers approached the man, a struggle ensued, and the man slashed Officer Robert Burns, 36, on the left side of his face, from his throat to his ear, and on his hand, authorities said.

"Fortunately, the knife missed the officer's carotid artery by a fraction of an inch, and doctors predict that he will make a complete recovery," Brown said in a statement.

Meeks was disarmed when Burns' partner, Shannon Pearl, 32, opened fire, striking him in the right elbow, prosecutors said.

Burns, who is assigned to the 113th Precinct Street Narcotics Unit, was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in stable condition. He was expected to be released on Wednesday, a hospital spokesman said.

His partner was unhurt.

Meeks, who was in stable condition at Mary Immaculate Hospital, would face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of all the charges against him, including fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Related Stories:

Throat Slashed, But Cop Expected to Recover

Cop Saves Partner After Throat Slashing

PoliceOne Follow-Up: 3 Critical Points

PoliceOne encourages you to remember the following:

  1. Even those items that some may consider relatively harmless can prove deadly in the wrong hands. A broken bottle, a shard of glass, a small kitchen knife, a single-edged razor blade, even a pen…all have the capacity to harm you.
  2. Always watch the hands when approaching. If you can’t see them, order the subject to show them. If he refuses, your tactical alarms should be sounding. If you see something sharp in the subject’s hands, even something small, consider the possible damage that could be inflicted if it were thrust at your face, slid across your neck or jammed into your eye and approach accordingly.
  3. When responding to a “man with a gun” call, remember that no sign of a gun does NOT mean there are no armed suspects at the scene.

PoliceOne members can discuss this incident by visiting the
NYPD Officer Throat Slashing Incident - P1 Member Discussion topic in the PoliceOne forums. (Secure Forum - LEO Login Required)

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About the author

If you have tactical information, compelling incidents, general comments or topics you would like to share, please contact Scott Buhrmaster, Managing Editor for PoliceOne.com and the Director of Training for the PoliceOne Training Network, at: buhrmastergroup@comcast.net

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