On Sept. 14, emotionally disturbed Glenn Broadnax weaved through the traffic around Times Square, throwing himself at cars. As police tried to subdue him, they mistakenly believed Broadnax was reaching for a weapon—and fired at the man. They missed Broadnax, but hit two other passersby. Now Broadnax has been charged with assault.
The New York State Supreme Court released their indictment yesterday, to the effect that Broadnax was responsible for the two bystanders’ bullet wounds.
The New York Times reported on the incident, comparing it to last year’s Empire State Building shooting, in which officers hit nine bystanders when they killed an armed murder suspect. The charge against Broadnax raises further questions about officers’ use of guns in crowded areas.
Though the 35-year-old man from Brooklyn was initially arrested on misdemeanor charges of menacing, drug possession and resisting arrest, the Manhattan district attorney’s office convinced a grand jury to charge Broadnax with felony assault, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years.
Broadnax “recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death,” the indictment reads.
A psychological evaluation found Broadnax fit to stand trial, despite the fact that he told officers upon his arrest that “he was talking to dead relatives in his head and that he tried throwing himself in front of cars to kill himself,” according to the police report.
A source told the New York Daily News at the time that Broadnax “told investigators that he wanted to die.”
The source said Broadnax had been smoking marijuana. “He told police he was off his medication and that he heard voices in his head, that people were talking to him.”
The Daily News reported that Broadnax took a MetroCard out of his pocket and pretended to “shoot” at officers with his hand, prompting them to take aim.
Mariann Wang, a lawyer representing Sahar Khoshakhlagh, one of the women who was wounded, said that charges should be brought against the officers, and not Broadnax.
“It’s an incredibly unfortunate use of prosecutorial discretion to be prosecuting a man who didn’t even injure my client,” she said.
“It’s the police who injured my client.”