New York, NY -- An innocent bystander has died after a New York City police officer struck him while firing at a fleeing suspect during a botched sting. Felix Cumi, 63, died in the hospital on Saturday from two bullet wounds to the torso.
Several vehicles and the front door of a house were also struck by bullets when the undercover officer and a second team nearby unloaded a firestorm at the 37-year-old suspect. Ironically, the cops’ careless, excessive use of firearms in a public street was the result of a sting targeting a firearms dealer.
It began when suspected illegal firearms dealer Jeffrey Aristy contacted an undercover officer to sell him a gun. They met in the Bronx, and the dealer asked to be driven to a Mount Vernon neighborhood. As the officer arrived, a third man (the 37-year-old suspect) climbed into the back seat and demanded the officer’s money at gunpoint.
When the robber ran away with the money, the officer got out of the vehicle and began firing, striking the robber three times and the unfortunate Mr. Cumi twice. This prompted the second team to fire at the fleeing suspect, who was apprehended and taken to the hospital. He was carrying a replica of a .45-caliber handgun.
Aristy fled the scene during the chaos but was later arrested and charged with “criminal sale of firearms and criminal sale of a controlled substance.”
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The police have included a questionable preemptive excuse for the action of the undercover officer which resulted in an innocent bystander’s death. The police say that after the suspect took the money and ran, he turned around and pointed his gun at the officer. It seems unlikely that someone would slow their getaway by turning around to point a gun, but witness accounts may ultimately prove whether or not this is true. At least four residents interviewed described two rounds of rapid fire and people running from the scene as undercover cops swarmed the area. Two witnesses would not give their names, indicating the level of intimidation that the NYPD exerts on the citizens.
The botched sting was set up by the department’s organized crime control bureau firearms investigations unit. These cops must fancy themselves as elite heroes weeding out the bad guys, keeping neighborhoods safe from the likes of drug dealers and gun runners. Now we have another innocent bystander to add to the list of those killed by the department’s follies.
Instead of letting the suspect be caught by the second team who was tailing the undercover officer during his drive with Aristy, the officer chose to come out of the car with bullets flying. This likely contributed to the second team’s decision to open fire, which could have easily caused another injury or death.
Rather than holding the firearms suspect captive and finding out who the robber was at the police station, the officer chose to open fire in a residential neighborhood without being able to scan the area.
Too often, sting operations end up with tragedy. Just last month a teenager was killed by a remorseless cop during a sting involving a few grams of marijuana. While cops wage war on the populace, the real crooks sit comfortably in the halls of government.
Notice how the tragic shooting of Kumi is barely mentioned in the press conference. The entire time, Chief James O'Neill harps on how much danger his undercover officer was facing -- as if it justified killing this beloved father.