Two potential witnesses who took cellphone video in the moments following last month's fatal cop-on-cop shooting in Harlem were told to leave by an officer at the crime scene, WABC reports. The two men, who showed the video to reporters but requested anonymity, say they were in a vehicle at a stoplight where Officer Omar Edwards chased the man who broke into his car. They didn't see the shooting because their view was blocked by another vehicle, but they heard the gunshots.
Two 30-second video clips reportedly show Edwards lying on the pavement in handcuffs, and raise questions about whether precious time was lost that might have saved the officer's life. The arresting officers have previously said that they did not discover that Edwards was NYPD until they tried to administer aid. One witness says: "We pull up and then we see a cop handcuffing him and leaving him there. They just left him. Didn't give him no aid. Told the officers not to touch a gun. It was a silver gun. He was about 10 to 15 feet away from his gun. He was just on the floor cuffed. Face in a ditch, in the gutter... They weren't paying attention to him."
John Shane, a professor at John Jay College, viewed the video and calls it "inconclusive at best. It's difficult to tell (if enough attention was paid to the person on the ground) because the video begins rolling at the point where the individual is already handcuffed. So we don't know what evaluation they've done at this point." Perhaps more troubling is that a uniformed officer told the witnesses to leave the scene shortly after they stopped recording. Shane says, duh, holding onto witnesses is "very crucial. Very crucial, especially when we don't know how many other witnesses there may be. You don't let anybody go." WABC showed the videos to the D.A. and the NYPD; both spokespersons declined to comment.