NEW YORK — The New York Police Department (NYPD) has released a body cam video of a knife-wielding woman shot by an officer after refusing to comply with their orders.
The incident took place in front of a car wash shop at Jamaica Avenue in the New York borough of Queens at 10 p.m. on May 24, 2019. The NYPD released the footage on March 11, 2021.
The woman, identified as 49-year-old Lydia Spicer, shouted and threatened the two officers. “You better shoot me! You’re gonna have to shoot me!” Spicer said several times while advancing towards the officers with her knife, as seen in the video.
Soon after, NYPD Officers Casey Thomas and William Crowe exited the car as Spicer threw a glass bottle. After which, she grabbed a knife from her shoulder pouch and charged the officers as they repeatedly told her to drop the knife.
At one point, Officer Thomas fired her service weapon, striking Spicer in the abdomen once. Although suffering from a gunshot wound, Spicer continued to walk across the avenue, still holding her knife. Just as back-up officers arrived on the scene, they saw her approaching a civilian on the street when they deployed a taser to immobilize her.
“The video includes available evidence leading up to the incident as well as during the incident. The NYPD is releasing this video for clear viewing of the totality of the incident,” the NYPD said in a statement.
She was knocked down to the ground, where she dropped her knife. She was rushed to the hospital and treated for her gunshot wound. She was arrested and taken into custody.
Police said Spicer was charged with two counts of attempted assault and attempted aggravated assault on a police officer, two counts of menacing a police officer, and one count of criminal possession of a weapon. It is yet not clear what caused Spicer’s irrational behavior.
Gun-related accidents are common in the US, but suicides make up to 60 percent of the gun-related deaths in the United States. “In 2017, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 39,773 people died from gun-related injuries in the US, as per the CDC. This figure includes gun killings and suicides, along with three other, less common types of gun-related deaths tracked by the CDC,” as per a research article.
Gun-related accidents, murders, and suicides have decreased over the years in the US. The report said that the gun murder and gun suicide rates in the US are lower today than in the mid-1970s. “There were 4.6 gun murders per 100,000 people in 2017, far below the 7.2 per 100,000 people recorded in 1974. And the rate of gun suicides — 6.9 per 100,000 people in 2017 — remained below the 7.7 per 100,000 measured in 1977,” the article states.
(Edited by Ojaswin Kathuria and Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar)
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