Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
May 14, 2015

Eye on Police Violence: NYPD Officer Shoots Crazy Man with Hammer

Hammer attack 1

Well, I wasn’t there. I don’t know how crazy the guy was after conking four tourists during the day, Monday, then chasing and swinging the tool at an officer after being approached in Midtown yesterday. That’s when her partner fired four times, three of the shots hitting the schizophrenic man, currently hospitalized in critical condition.

There is a surveillance cam video in the NYT article. The news photos, however, don’t document the attack. They capture the aftermath. That being the case, what they mostly bring up — the photo above almost comically — is proportionality.

Certainly the forensic guy needs to do his forensic thing, but the sight of the common, everyday tool being inspected by this enormous magnifying glass through the science-y glasses makes one wonder what’s so hard to see. One thing that isn’t is how, after all the highly-publicized incidents of police brutality and racial profiling in New York and around the country, what’s as much under the microscope are these militarized police departments. For being that quick on the trigger.

Hammer attack 3 Officer alone

(photo 1: Bebeto Matthews/AP caption: A New York Police Department investigator lies on the ground with a magnifying glass as he examines a hammer after a shooting, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in New York. Authorities say a man apparently wielding the hammer was shot by police in Midtown Manhattan.photo 2: Andrew Burton/Getty Images caption: Police officers guard a scene where a hammer-wielding attacker assaulted a police officer on May 13, 2015 in New York City. The attacker was shot twice by a police officer and is currently in the hospital undergoing medical treatment.)

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