- Police investigating report of sick man on sidewalk when they found homeless man who had apparently suffered a seizure
- Dog began growling at officers as they tried to wake him up
- One officer shot the dog in the head as the animal reportedly lunged at him
- Shooting came days after cops shot and killed a crazed man wielding a knife in Times Square
A disturbing video of an NYPD officer shooting a charging pit bull in broad daylight in front of dozens of screaming witnesses has been released to Gothamist.
The footage shows how the police officers approached the dog’s owner while he was lying unconscious on the street before the animal, named Star, snapped at a bystander’s leg.
Star quickly reverses direction and lunges toward the police officer, who shoots it twice before the animal comes to a halt, twitching on the street in agony.
‘[The police] were telling people standing around to get back, but a lady was standing behind the passed out-guy got a little too close, so the dog nips at her,’ a witness told Gothamist.
Johnny Rodriguez told the website that he and three others told the police that there was a passed out man lying in the street.
They saw him having a seizure, lying down on the ground twitching and shaking
Mr Rodriguez said the two officers called for backup and started to get too close to the man for the dog’s comfort.
‘I told one of the cops, “Hey, that dog is growling, be careful,” but it was too late.
Angered and confused by the encroaching strangers, the dog first went for a bystander, nipping at a woman’s leg
That’s when the officer pulled out his weapon and aimed it at Star, who came rushing at him.
He fired his gun twice at the animal, causing it to tumble and then slide across the street before it came to a whimpering halt.
It flailed on the ground for a few moments, before it stopped.
‘How could you do that??! How could you do that ??!’ one bystander screamed.
The dog survived the gunshots and is recovering at the Animal Care and Control facility on East 110th Street.
The man was not identified, but those at the scene told that he was a drifter from Poland, who often hung out on the corner with the dog.
While some witnesses said that the officer was only defending himself, others accused the officer of using excessive force.
Aida Feliciano, who lives nearby, told the New York Daily News that the man was kicked by officers, prompting the dog to become defensive of its owner.
She said: ‘Instead of calling the ambulance, they started kicking him.’
Another witness told NY1: ‘I talked to the cop afterwards. He was very shaken up. He’s a dog lover and it ruined his week, if not his year. And he did what he had to do to protect himself.’
The homeless man was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The officer was also hospitalised for ringing in his ears.
The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.
The incident came just days after another officer-involved shooting in Manhattan, where officers opened fire on a crazed man brandishing a knife near Times Square.
The officers involved in that shooting claimed they acted in self-defence, and only fired when the man, identified as Darrius Kennedy, lunged at them.