U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- On 4 June 2020, two female police officers, Officer Suarez and her partner, Officer Brown enter a deli in Manhattan. Just behind them came 55-year-old Peyman Bahadoran, walking his dog and holding a drink bottle in his right hand. Officer Suarez held the door to allow the dog, on leash, in the store.
Peyman got into a verbal dispute with officer Brown. Peyman drew a large knife which was in a sheath on his right leg, and started waving it around.
At this point, either officer, in my opinion, would have been legally justified in shooting Peyman, but neither did. Suarez drew her radio and exited the store, calling for backup. Brown ineffectively fired a Taser at Peyman, missing, as she fled behind the counter.
Peyman started interacting with the deli clerk, who is the hero in this story. Peyman waved his knife. The clerk picked up his own knife, and waved it back. Peyman demanded cigarettes, eerily similar to George Floyd.
The clerk, in a brilliant move, extended the pack of cigarettes toward Peyman. Peyman instinctively put the knife down on the counter, preparatory to taking the cigarettes. The clerk snagged the knife with his left hand, while withdrawing the cigarettes with his right.
Peyman was left unarmed. The clerk gave the knife to Officer Brown.
Peyman started holding his hands up for all to see he is unarmed. Suarez re-entered the doorway. She appeared to be able to clearly see Peyman no longer has a knife in his right hand, and a water bottle in his left hand.
15 seconds after being disarmed by the store clerk, Peyman stormed out of the store, slipping alongside officer Suarez. Officer Suarez had her gun drawn, but did not shoot, even as Peyman angrily pushed her back out of the deli.
Suarez continued pointing her pistol at Peyman as the angry confrontation continued. Peyman had opportunities to snatch the pistol, but did not attempt to do so.
Then backup arrived.
Peyman was confronting Suarez and touched the sheath on his leg, but his right hand remained empty.
Peyman turned toward the backup and attempted to shove supervisor Machado. Slight contact was made as Machado backs up. Machado had his pistol pointed at Peyman, but pointed it downward, presumably as he sees Payman’s outstretched, empty right hand. In doing so, he removed his pistol from Peyman’s reach.
Peyman turned toward supervisor Machado again.
Officer Rozanski had drawn his gun, out in the street, and was ready to shoot, as was officer Suarez. Two shots were fired, close together. It was 8 seconds after Peyman and Suarez had exited the deli.
It is not clear who shot first. Officer Murphy had drawn a weapon, but had not pointed it at Peyman. Supervisor Machado had drawn a weapon, but it was not pointed at Peyman, either. Officer Brown had remained in the Deli.
Officer Rozanski, Peyman, and officer Suarez were all on one geometrical line of fire.
Here are the positions of the players, a fractional second before the shots were fired.
Officer Suarez (on right) and Officer Rozanski (Top left) are said to have shot Bahadoran with one shot each. Supervisor Machado, (center left) and officer Murphy (center further left) had drawn weapons.
Here is the view from officer Suarez’ body camera, a fraction of a second after the shots are fired.
15 seconds after being disarmed, out the door. 8 seconds after being out the door, Peyman is shot.
As an aside, I doubt Suarez was taught the thumb across thumb two-handed hold. It is a good way to have your left thumb sliced by the pistol slide.
Was this a justified shoot, or as some police say, a “good” shoot?
A retired police officer (a firearms and tactics trainer for most of his career) and I both reviewed the video.
The police have a difficult job. It is easy to second guess them in difficult situations. However…
Both the retired officer and I came to the same conclusions. We both would probably have shot Peyman, and have been justified, but… not at the time, he was shot.
When he was shot, it was no longer a justified shooting.
When Peyman drew the knife and waved it about, and leisurely followed Officer Brown, it would have been a justified shoot by either officer or even the hero clerk or the bystander near the door.
After the hero sandwich maker and deli clerk disarmed Peyman, the shooting became less justified.
Officer Suarez may have been justified in shooting Peyman when he approached her, if she claimed he intended to disarm her; but he did not and she did not.
Peyman’s aggressive pushing at supervisor Machado, was not sufficient, especially now that five officers were present and Peyman did not have any weapons in his hands.
In addition, the rigorous policies of the NYPD seem to disqualify it. Officers are not allowed to discharge a firearm when it will unnecessarily endanger innocents. From nyc.gov:
Discharge a firearm when, in the professional judgment of a reasonable member of the service, doing so will unnecessarily endanger innocent persons
Both officers who fired were directly in each other’s line of fire.
Peyman is now suing the NYPD and NYC for an unjustified shoot.
The use of force situations change rapidly. Police officers are trained to understand that reality. I was trained about it 40 years ago!
Peyman had/has mental problems. He says he is bipolar. I suspect he will collect quite a bit of money.
The retired officer/firearms trainer said the police should not have had their pistols out, once Peyman no longer had the knife. He said, if he had shot people at the level of aggression Peyman showed outside the deli, he would have shot hundreds of people during his career (he did not shoot any).
Having drawn pistols in the situation restricted the officers’ options. They were probably acting on the information officer Suarez had given earlier, about Peyman having a large knife.
There are probably over 50 million police-public interactions in a year. By the odds, a few of them are bound to go badly.
The five officers had numerous non-lethal options to take an unarmed man into custody. Everything simply lined up wrong for Peyman, and he was shot. Most of it was his own fault.
Heather McDonald has shown more unarmed white men are shot by police than unarmed black men. Peyman is one of those.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.