Family of man shot by NYPD during Harlem confrontation speaks out

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN (WABC) -- The family of a man shot during a confrontation with police in Harlem Tuesday is speaking out.

Michael Cordero, 34, faces several charges, including criminal possession of a weapon and menacing, after police said he told officers he had a gun, took a shooting stance, and brandished a black object, which turned out to be a wallet.

One of the officers fired three rounds and struck Cordero in the hip, and he was hospitalized in stable condition.

Cordero's relatives said he suffers from a bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and their attorney said this shows that the NYPD still has not taken seriously the need to train officers to deal with mental illness.

Police said officers arriving on scene Tuesday were told that Cordero was armed, but the family said that they, in fact, called police, telling them Cordero was having an episode and was unarmed.

They said police knew about his history and should have been prepared to deal with him in a way that did not involve the use of force.

"This situation in this city, the matter in which the NYPD interacts with mentally ill people, who they have notice of are mentally ill, must be addressed by the mayor," Sanford Rubenstein, the family's attorney, said at a press conference in Brooklyn Thursday.

Police say the officers who responded that night did not know that Cordero had mental problems, and did not know anything other than a report that they were there to look for a man with a gun.

Police said that by the time the family called 911, the information did not have time to get to the police officers who were running upstairs.

Dealing with emotionally disturbed people has been an issue with the NYPD for years, particularly in the last couple of years.

In 2016, for example, an NYPD sergeant was found not guilty for shooting and killing, Deborah Danner, a woman with schizophrenia who refused to drop a pair of scissors when police arrived at her Bronx apartment.

According to WNYC, the NYPD responds to more than 300 calls related to emotionally disturbed persons per day.

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