Man Police Shot at Charged With Assault for Bystanders’ Injuries

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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty

This is an unusual one: After police shot at Glenn Broadnax in Times Square in September and missed him, hitting two bystanders instead, prosecutors brought assault charges against Broadnax, saying he was the one who created the situation in which the victims got hurt. Police said Broadnax, who was running around in traffic and generally acting looney on Sept. 14, reached into his pocket as if for a gun, and that's when they shot at him, but hit and injured two innocent women. Prosecutors, who at first charged Broadnax with misdemeanors such as menacing and resisting arrest, obtained a felony indictment from a grand jury that said he "recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death."

But Broadnax's attorney, Rigodis Appling, said he was the victim in the situation, according to the Associated Press. "There's video shot by bystanders in Times Square which show my client not being violent and not being aggressive, in fact running around disoriented and scared," she said.

Broadnax is suffering from anxiety and depression, Appling said, and the New York Post cited police sources who claimed he was trying to commit "suicide by cop." But Appling said he "never imagined his behavior would ever cause the police to shoot at him."

The attorney for one of the injured women chided prosecutors for the decision to go after Broadnax, and not the police. "It’s an incredibly unfortunate use of prosecutorial discretion to be prosecuting a man who didn’t even injure my client," she said, per the Times. "It’s the police who injured my client."