State Senator Martin Golden (Brooklyn) was pleased today at the withdrawal of legislation, crafted by Senate Minority Leader David Paterson, which would have required police officers to use non-lethal force when confronted by armed criminals. Senator Golden believes the ‘shoot-to-maim’ legislation was not only misguided but, fundamentally flawed.
"I am shocked by the ridiculous notion of this legislation. Requiring officers to shoot to maim would not only further endanger our brave men and women in blue, but it is completely impractical in the real world," said Senator Golden, a former New York City Police Officer, who himself was injured in the line of duty by a gun-toting criminal.
Currently, the law says the use of deadly physical force is warranted only if a suspect is trying to kill an officer and he or she cannot safely retreat. An officer is also permitted to such force with a suspect who is resisting arrest for a felony involving the use of physical force against a person or with a suspect who possesses a firearm or deadly weapon and is attempting to escape.
According to a summary of Paterson’s now defunct legislation, if an officer were under attack by an armed criminal they would have been required to shoot the suspect in the leg or arm if such actions might stop the suspect from escaping or harming the officer.
"With the string of fatal police officer shootings over the past few months, now more than ever, there is a clear need to provide New York’s Finest with every available option for confronting dangerous armed criminals. This legislation would have handcuffed every police officer in the State of New York ," said Senator Marty Golden.
Recently, Senator Golden drafted legislation became law at the end of 2005, the "Crimes Against Police Act" which includes a provision that insures that anyone who fires a gun at a police officer will face serious mandatory penalties. The new statutes, Attempted Aggravated Murder and the Menacing of a Police Officer, both now carry appropriately harsh penalties of a minimum of 20 years-to-life in prison and a maximum of 40 year-to-life in prison.