Glenn Broadnax, 35, has been charged with assault after bullets the NYPD meant for him struck two innocent bystanders, reports the New York Times.
The unarmed, emotionally disturbed Brooklyn man was weaving recklessly through traffic near Times Square when police told him to halt. Broadnax allegedly reached for his pocket, prompting the officers to shoot, and the bullets struck two women standing nearby.
Broadnax was eventually knocked to the ground with a Taser and arrested.
Though Broadnax was initially charged with menacing, drug possession and resisting arrest, the Manhattan district attorney’s office pushed to charge him with assault, a felony carrying a maximum sentence of 25 years, claiming that Broadnax “recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death.”
“The defendant is the one that created the situation that injured innocent bystanders,” said an assistant district attorney, Shannon Lucey.
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The two police officers, who have not been identified, have been placed on administrative duty and their actions are still under investigation by the district attorney’s office, law enforcement officials said. They also face an internal Police Department inquiry.
Mr. Broadnax’s lawyer, Rigodis Appling, said Mr. Broadnax suffered from anxiety and depression and had been disoriented and scared when the police shot at him. He was reaching for his wallet, not a gun, she said. “Mr. Broadnax never imagined his behavior would ever cause the police to shoot at him,” she said.
After his arrest, Mr. Broadnax was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center, where he told a detective that “he was talking to dead relatives in his head and that he tried throwing himself in front of cars to kill himself,” according to a court document released on Wednesday.
A judge ordered a mental evaluation, and a psychiatrist later found Mr. Broadnax competent to stand trial, Ms. Appling said.
On Wednesday, Justice Gregory Carro set bail at $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash.