HARLEM, Manhattan — Police fired at a man in Harlem three times, hitting him once in the hip, after the man told them he had a gun and pointed what turned out to be a wallet at them, officials said.
Officers responded to the building following a report of a man with a gun on the 4th floor of a West 114th Street building. Three officers took the elevator up and spotted a man who matched the reported description.
Michael Cordero's hands were in his pockets and he ignored officer requests to take his hands out.
"What do you mean take my hands out of my pocket," Cordero, 34, asked, according to police. "I've got a gun. "
Then he pulled a wallet out, assumed a shooting stance and pointed it at the cops, officials said.
The entire encounter lasted under a minute. It was captured on police body cameras.
Cordero was taken to St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital. He does have a history of arrests. Cordero was charged with burglary, criminal possession of a weapon, menacing, criminal contempt and unlawful possession of marijuana.
His family has retained defense attorney Sanford Rubenstein.
“He’s mentally ill. The protocol of the NYPD was not properly followed," Rubenstein said. "And this focuses on a problem that is not unique to what happened here. There are cases in this city in which people who have mental illnesses have been killed. We need to upgrade the manner in which the police deal with the mentally ill in this city."
But NYPD Chief of the Department Terence Monahan says officers were already in the process of responding by the time Cordero’s family called 911 to alert them of his unstable mental condition.
"We get out of the elevator. We see the male walking toward us. We ask him to take his hands out of his pocket. He goes into his pocket, says he has a gun, pulls a black object up, takes it in a two handed stances, covering he top of it, as if you were racking a slide," Chief Monahan said. "At that point our cops had less than a second to make a decision. So in my opinion they acted appropriately."