Nadler Statement on Gidone Busch Decision

Nov 18, 2003

Washington, DC -- Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) expressed outrage over a Brooklyn jury's verdict that found five police officers were justified in the shooting death of Gidone Busch, a 31-year-old Hasidic Jewish man with a history of mental illness. Nadler's statement regarding the jury's decision is as follows:

"I am very shocked and saddened that the jury on the Gidone Busch case decided that the police officers 'acted properly' in committing this terrible crime. There is no doubt in my mind that the police did not 'act properly' when they shot and killed Gidone Bush. Gidone's shooting death leaves many questions that can only be answered by a Department of Justice investigation.

"Gidone, an unarmed man with a history of mental illness, was shot and killed by police officers on the night of August 30, 1999. The police account was that Mr. Busch was lunging at police officers with a dangerous weapon -- a hammer -- when he was shot. New York City's own medical expert testified during the trial that Bush was in fact not lunging or charging when he was shot, but standing straight. This stunning discovery reinforces the need for the Justice Department to reopen this investigation.

"Several witnesses of the crime testified that Mr. Busch was shot after he broke free of the police effort to contain him. As he stood on the sidewalk, with a hammer raised over his head, not moving, not posing any threat to the police, who were at least five feet away -- police fired a single shot, followed by a volley of shots.

"The Justice Department has even stated, in a letter to the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau, that there is a strong possibility that NYPD members colluded with one another to coordinate their account of what happened. Despite this finding, the U.S. Attorney merely referred the case to the NYPD, which has failed to pursue the investigation. If the U.S. Attorney found this evidence of a police cover-up and still let the investigation drop, the Justice Department has seriously failed to fulfill its legal mandate to protect our civil rights.

"It has been over four years since the shooting death of Gidone Busch. While the jury has cleared the police officers involved of any wrongdoing, there remain too many unanswered questions surrounding the death of Gidone. The Justice Department must take up this matter immediately."