Update: $4.5 million for NYC cop who fell off chair, shot self

by Walter Olson on February 19, 2010

We covered this case a little more than a year ago, and now it’s slated for the city’s appeal, per an update last fall by John Hochfelder at New York Injury Cases. Jury Verdict Review has a version with some details redacted for nonsubscribers.

{ 9 comments }

1 nevins 02.19.10 at 2:15 pm

“The City argued that Alexander had concocted the story so he would not get in trouble for mishandling the gun properly. ”

Well as long as he properly mishandled the gun then OK.

2 Frank C ostanza 02.19.10 at 3:16 pm

So he gets 4.5M, a 3/4 pension (since he’s now disabled) and yet gets a job as a deputy sheriff down south? Is there something wrong with this picture?

3 John Rohan 02.19.10 at 3:28 pm

From the Jury verdict review article:

Alexander maintained that as a veteran police detective he had “taken over a hundred guns off the street,” and therefore, was well aware of proper protocol for handling guns.

As a veteran military officer, who has also handled hundreds of weapons, I’ll ask this question: If he was such an expert, then why wasn’t he aware of the simple fact that you shouldn’t casually walk around with a round chambered in the barrel ready to fire? (Unless you intend to be in a firefight within moments)

This is especially true with a Glock (the gun in question), which has it’s safety on the trigger itself. So the real safety for the weapon, to prevent accidents like this, is simply not to cock it until you’re about to fire.

4 A.W. 02.19.10 at 5:12 pm

okay, i confess, i don’t handle guns very often. still i don’t get it. the gun is loaded, and apparently the safety was off. so he puts it down his pants. in the front. you know i know the first rule of gun safety which is never aim at something you don’t want to kill, even if the gun is unloaded.

i believe in the right to bear arms. but i also believe in the responsibility to bear them safely. i say no judgment for him, except, at most, doctor’s bills. and that is me being generous.

5 Richard Nieporent 02.20.10 at 12:07 am

I guess Plaxico Burress was using the Anderson Alexander gun safety rules. :)

6 SmokeVanThorn 02.20.10 at 4:08 pm

The links say it wasn’t a Glock – it was a Smith & Wesson. From the accounts, it appears that the cop pulled the trigger when he fell, which almost certainly means he had his finger inside the trigger guard, contrary to basic gunhandling rules. Any gun that does not have a safety that prevents pulling the trigger or blocks the firing pin – including revolvers – would fire under these circumstances. (I believe S&W has models with and without such safeties.) Mr. Rohan is right – the gun would not have fired if there was not a round in the chamber. However, I don’t know that departments want cops carrying with an empty chamber that requires racking the slide before firing.

7 John Rohan 02.20.10 at 7:04 pm

SmokeVanThorn wrote:
The links say it wasn’t a Glock – it was a Smith & Wesson

I was going off the photo on the “Jury Verdict Review” site, which is of a Glock. It’s possible they just showed the wrong weapon.

8 John Rohan 02.20.10 at 7:09 pm

Whoops – the photo is on the NY Injury case blog.

9 SmokeVanThorn 02.20.10 at 9:11 pm

John Rohan – I have to admit I was surprised to see the weapon identified as an S&W because I seemed to remember that the Glock 17 was the standard duty weapon in NYC. I also recall reading a few reports of “accidental discharges” involving NYC cops and Glocks, but each report made it obvious that the cop had his/her finger on the trigger while re-holstering, except for the case where, according to the officer herself, the AD supposedly occurred while she was field stripping the Glock to clean it – all “operator errors.”

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