Friday, June 12, 2015

In five police shootings, was fatal force really necessary?

In January 2013, a bank sold a 4,000-square-foot former branch and retail store, above, to allow for the expansion of Simple Simon's, a deli and liquor store on Essex Street, near Prospect Avenue, in Hackensack, below. But the expansion hasn't taken place, and the site remains an eyesore at a heavily trafficked intersection near Hackensack University Medical Center.


The fatal Hackensack police shooting of a man who came at an officer -- allegedly armed with "a very large knife" -- is the fifth such incident in Bergen County, not the third, as The Record reports today. 

In reporting the death on Thursday afternoon of Raymond Peralta Lantigua, a Page 1 story recalls that on May 29, Kevin K. Allen, 36, "was shot as he waved a knife at Lyndhurst officers" (A-1).

"On May 21, Elvin Diaz, 24, was shot as he advanced on officers with what was described as a kitchen cleaver," the story continues, without mentioning on the front page that Hackensack police were involved in that case, too. 

And the Woodland Park daily has neglected to tell readers these three fatal shootings recall two others where the suspects carried knives or tools.

All minorities

All the men killed by police were black or Hispanic.

In November 2012, Rickey L. McFadden, 47, was shot by three officers after he allegedly robbed a CVS in Leonia at knife-point.

And in December 2011, Malik Williams, 29, of Garfield fled police custody, and was fatally shot when two officers found him in a nearby garage, armed with "tools."

With 70 uncoordinated, home-rule police departments in Bergen County, is it any wonder officers don't have a non-fatal method of dealing with cases like these -- three and a half years after Williams' death?

Why isn't Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli providing leadership, either by training local officers or purchasing non-lethal weapons for them from the money confiscated from criminals?

Bad head

Today's Page 1 story carries a clunky headline, using "dead" instead of the active "dies."

"Hackensack man dead
after being shot by cop"

And the editor or copy editor who wrote the headline could have mentioned the suspect had a knife in the main or drop headline, but instead, told readers Thursday's shooting was "blocks" away from the May 21 Hackensack police shooting.

Letter to editor

Noting what a mess Governor Christie has made in New Jersey and how much time he spends on the campaign trail, Robert Van Assen of Wayne writes in a letter to the editor today:

"Just imagine all the problems that he could cause in this country if he had 49 additional states over which he was in charge. The problems would be endless" (A-18).

Yet, The Record continues to publish the GOP bully's attacks on everyone from President Obama to Hillary Clinton to teachers and college administrators, as if anyone in the Garden State is paying any attention to what he is saying in Iowa, New Hampshire and other states (A-1).

Local news

I can't wait to see the art that will transform a "wood-panel fence" put up around the rubble from the April fire that destroyed a restaurant, Choripan Rodizio, and the apartments above it on Main Street in Hackensack (L-1).

On L-3, an editor or copy editor wrote another dull photo over line:


I've lived in Bergen County a long time, and didn't know Ridgewood is associated with hula or any other kind of dancing, as the over line suggests.

What's clearer is that the 81-year-old man show in the photo is delighted at the sight of Ashley Spicer, a bikini-clad woman in her 20s.

Dessert fanatic

In her rave review of 17 Summer Restaurant in Lodi, Staff Writer Elisa Ung says, "No one should leave without trying the ... olive oil cake sandwiched with pistachio cream" (BL-18).

No one? How about people watching their weight and cholesterol? How about diabetics?

Seafood lovers find only octopus on the menu, according to her review, and no salads.

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