The New York Post reports Monday night’s shooting in the Bronx as “another bloody attack on New York’s Finest.”
The dedication and courage of the officers involved will certainly become part of the current War on Cops debate, although the incident appears to have been a case of armed robbers opening fire on the police who tried to halt their crime, rather than a targeted police assassination:
Plainclothes officers Andrew Dossi and Aliro Pellarano had just finished their shift but came back on to respond to a grocery store robbery at 363 E. 180th St. when they came upon two suspects at 184th Street, authorities said.
One of them ducked into a Chinese restaurant on Tiebout Avenue at about 10:35 p.m. while the other stayed outside, according to NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton.
“As two of the officers approached the male on the street, the other suspect inside of the store came out and fired upon the officers,” Bratton said. “The officers returned fire.”
The suspects then fled the scene on foot while exchanging gunfire with cops at 184th Street and Tiebout Avenue.
“I heard six shots,” said 36-year-old Stephen Melowski. “I looked out and I saw the shot cops getting inside a car. Somebody was saying, ‘Oh my God, oh my God!’”
Pellarano was shot in the arm and “grazed in the chest,” while Dossi sustained gunshot wounds in both his arm and stomach.
The Post adds that “the suspects then carjacked a white Camaro and drove a short distance before crashing at 188th Street and Park Avenue. They then got out and started running.”
That’s an awful lot of action-movie pyrotechnics for a simple restaurant robbery.
One of the suspects was arrested when he showed up at a hospital looking to get his gunshot wound treated, while the other two, described by New York Police Commissioner William Bratton as “two Hispanic men in their mid-to-late 20s,” are still at large. One of them was captured on surveillance camera video.
Reportedly, the two officers are recovering well from their injuries, with the more seriously injured Dossi spending some time in surgery on Tuesday morning. They were praised lavishly by embattled New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, fresh off another public appearance at which some NYPD officers turned their backs on him. De Blasio tried to portray this as a gesture of disrespect to the family of murdered police officer Wenjian Liu, at whose funeral he was speaking, rather than a gesture directed at him personally. “Those individuals who took certain actions the last two weeks, they were disrespectful to the families involved,” said the Mayor at a press conference. “I can’t understand why anyone would do such a thing in the context like that.”
That’s just about the worst possible way de Blasio could have played it – craven arrogance and schoolyard games about how he doesn’t understand what the cops are trying to say, when he knows perfectly well that his past statements casting racist aspersions on the NYPD are what angered them. If he really wants to heal this rift, he needs to man up, take responsibility for his words and deeds, declare himself a changed man, and spend a little time proving he’s changed. He threw the police under the bus to curry favor with a left-wing mob, and such a rhetorical bus is not easily backed up. Also, not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s understandable that some cops think de Blasio’s insults contributed to a certain amount of injury.
The Mayor sounded much better when praising Officers Pellarano and Dossi:
Thank God these officers are doing well. These officers did something that was extraordinarily brave. They did it as part of their commitment. These officers had just come off their shift and upon hearing this call went back out in search of these criminals. The work they do is so profoundly important in this instance where they went above and beyond the call to protect their fellow New Yorkers.
I’ve never heard a law-enforcement officer claim that everyone in his or her profession is perfect. They wouldn’t need review boards and Internal Affairs departments if they were. What they do want from the population they protect and serve is a little consideration for the difficulty of their job, which is like no other. We don’t really want it to be like other jobs, do we? That’s the central argument behind the backlash against militarized police, “warrior cops,” and the use of actual military forces for domestic police duties. We make unique demands of our law enforcement community, and we’ve given them a horrendously complicated set of laws to enforce, especially in places like New York City. (How would you say your crusade against illegal cigarette sales is going, Mayor de Blasio?) One of the unique aspects of police work is that officers have very little time to respond when the citizens they encounter behave in a threatening or uncooperative manner. It’s not always as clear-cut as thugs blasting away through the window of a restaurant, but when that happens, everyone is unambiguously grateful for the presence of the police, including officers who could have called it a night and headed home to their families.