Police say they fatally shot Inwood resident Emmanuel Paulino as he charged at them with a knife early Sunday morning, and they released a transcript of his 911 call declaring his desire to kill cops. Paulino even provided his address, and when cops arrived, they failed to subdue him with a Taser failed and opened fire. But Paulino's family says the police overreacted and failed to help their emotionally disturbed relative.
"The bottom line is that Emmanuel Paulino was a sick individual who needed help and was seeking help, and I guess the call he made seeking help only brought his death," says Fernando Mateo, a community activist with Hispanics Across America who was speaking on behalf of Paulino’s mother and four sisters. Paulino's family also criticized the NYPD for releasing the 911 tape so quickly. "Someone who makes this type of call to the Police Department ... is not in his right state of mind," says Mateo.
"These officers did everything they could reasonably do," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters yesterday. "They told him to drop the knife. They backed off. They used the Taser. They continued to back off. He said, ‘Go ahead I want to died, shoot me,’ or words to that effect." Kelly explained that the Taser failed because only one of the darts made contact with Paulino's body; the second got stuck in his shirt. "It's a circuit," Kelly said. "You need the two darts to work."
An Emergency Service Unit, which is trained with non-lethal methods of subduing an emotionally disturbed person, was on the way to the scene, but Paulino was shot dead before they arrived. The Daily News notes that the court had recommended Paulino receive mental health treatment after he served 20 months in federal prison for getting caught at Kennedy Airport swallowing 51 "pellets" of heroin.