Posted on June 1, 2009 ·
Omar Edwards, of Booklyn, was a 2-year rookie cop to the NYPD. Newly married in April with two kids, he was set to begin a life that many of his family and friends say he dreamed of: “When he was a small boy, he would go over to the 71st Precinct just to be around the police… He fell in love with the NYPD from the very beginning — all his life he loved the police” his mother said. Like any other mother, or any other family for that matter, they had understandable worries about his career choice. More than anyone, his mother worried about losing her son to a criminal.
The saddest part of it all may be that he wasn’t taken away from her by a criminal, but by another police officer
In East Harlem, Officer Edwards was given the opportunity to leave duty earlier than expected on Thursday night, May 28th. To make a long story short, he left the police station around 10pm to find a man, Miguel Santiago, stealing a GPS from his car. In pursuit of the man, Edwards was in his civilian clothes, but had his badge and his gun still on him.
During this on-foot-chase, he ran past three other unmarked officers. Amongst these three, Officer Andrew Dunton, allegedly screamed out the Edwards, mistaking him for an armed criminal. As the story goes, Edwards turned around with his gun still in hand, and Officer Dunton shot at his fellow officer five times, four times in the arm, once in the chest.
Upon his arrest of Edwards, it was discovered that he was a cop when responding rescue cues cut his shirt open to see his Police Academy shirt, and found his police badge in his pocket.
Many issues surround this case from the possibility of race discrimination- Edwards was black, Dunton white; there are police procedures that are up for discussion such as what interaction should have taken place between the two civilian-clothed officers, what did and what didn’t, especially since there were two other unmarked officers on duty and the only one that fired was Dunton. It was said that Officer Dunton “is heartbroken, distraught and upset. He sent his condolences [to Edwards’ family] saying how sorry he was. He’s devastated because he left behind a family without a father.” I do believe that all of the procedures that were supposed to have taken place in reference to Dunton as an unmarked police officer deciding to shoot, did not, and though I believe this was not a full-blown racist issue, I do believe whole-heartedly that had Edwards been a white man, Dunton would have paused long enough to have a dialogue with the officer. He may be remorseful and possibly feeling more guilt than I could imagine, he should pay for the crime he committed long enough to contemplate this reality that many of black families face, and black officers fear.
For an extended account of this story, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/30/nyregion/30officers.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1
My condolences go out to Omar Edwards’ friends and family.
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