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Editorial: Police deserve Benefit of doubt

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Police Commissioner Ray Kelly spent an exhausting hour last week explaining why three out of four shootings by police officers in the first two days of the year appear to be justifiable. One of the shootings may have been a tragic accident.

Not surprisingly, on the same afternoon the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network demanded an independent investigation into the shootings. Sharpton stopped short of condemning the shootings, but he did call for an independent investigation. Sharpton, who is running for president, was accompanied by the mother of a young man who was killed when he allegedly held a BB gun to the head of an undercover cop who was posing as a delivery boy.

Sharpton has missed an opportunity to address the proliferation of guns in the city’s inner-city neighborhoods. In the same week two innocent victims were hit by stray bullets. Sharpton should be encouraging the police to do whatever is necessary to get the illegal guns off our city streets.

It is hard to imagine anything sadder than for a mother to bury her child. But if what the police have described is true, they had every right to use deadly force on a man holding a gun to the head of a police officer. We reminded the minister that on New Year’s morning a 15-year-old boy was executed on the streets of Williamsburg. We don’t see the need for an independent investigation.

Police officers of every color put their lives on the line every day. They deserve the benefit of the doubt. Because of the work of the NYPD, the streets of New York are safer than they have been in three decades. If Sharpton doesn’t understand this, he has no business running for public office.

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