In the wake of the recent tragic shooting of police officer Omar Edwards, 25, by a fellow cop, the NYPD is engaged in self-reflection: surveying undercover officers, releasing a guide for officers who confront other officers, reviewing rules and regulations and showing police training methods.
Today, as Edwards’ life is celebrated and his virtues extolled during funeral services at Our Lady of Victory Church on Throop Avenue, loss and sorrow overwhelm hearts: a wife loses a husband; children lose a father; a father and mother lose a son; siblings lose a brother; friends lose a friend; a team loses a player and on and on down the line – even the blue line.
Edwards, a Brooklyn resident, was shot and killed at 10:44 p.m. on East 125th Street in East Harlem by Officer Andrew Dunton one week ago today while chasing a man who broke into his car. Edwards was in street clothes and not wearing a bulletproof vest.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said yesterday that the current training video teaching officers how best to avoid problems in “confrontational situations,” will be replaced by another video that includes interviews and will be shown in every police facility in the city.
If only there were second chances, or life could rewind like videos. It would make it a lot easier for black officers who fear they might be mistaken for perpetrators or criminals and shot by their own; and officers who fear they might shoot an officer of color accidentally during a police action thinking that he might be a suspect.
So the shooting raises questions about race as well as procedure. Edwards joined the NYPD in July 2007. He was shot three times. The circumstances are under investigation.
At the urging of Black and Hispanic officers, Edwards will get a posthumous promotion to detective so that his widow, Danielle, and the couple’s two young boys can collect benefits based on the higher salary. What a price to pay.