Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Man, A Gun, And A Shooting

It seems that sometime-star wide receiver Plaxico Burress of the New York Giants has a bit of a legal problem.

Mr. Burress appeared with Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce and running back Ahmad Bradshaw at the entrance of the Latin Quarter nightclub in mid-town Manhattan. Then, according to the New York Daily News

all walked through metal detectors - at which point, Burress informed security he had a gun. He was then pulled aside and frisked, revealing a handgun tucked in the waistband of his sweatpants, sources said. A manager was called over, and, after a brief discussion, he decided to allow Burress to keep the weapon. Burress said he needed the firearm because he was bedecked in jewelry and carrying a wad of cash. A security guard was assigned to the players. Burress then asked to go to the VIP area and was escorted up a flight of stairs. At some point, the gun jostled loose from the waistband, and as Burress - who was holding a drink in his hand - grabbed for it, a round went off.

The guys left the club, the gun (later retrieved) was taken to New Jersey somewhere by Pierce. The wide receiver went home and, accompanied by his wife and a friend, arrived at New York-Cornell Hospital in his Cadillac Escalade. He was checked in at 2:45 a.m. and was released some ten hours later after being treated.

A hospital spokeswoman told the Daily News (two consecutive days) that Burress had never been there but Giant employees reported it to the New York Police Department, and Burress probably will be charged with criminal possession of a weapon. Burress' gun had a permit for his gun in Florida, where it had been purchased, but it was not registered in New York.

As someone who is as fond of the New York Giants as, say, a Boston Red Sox fan is of the New York Yankees, I always will defend the right of a Giant receiver to blow a hole in his right thigh. Still, it does raise in a reasonable person at least four "what was" questions:

.... the night club doing a) letting in a guy with a gun; b) not reporting the shooting to police; and c) cleaning up afterward (which, admittedly, follows logically from not informing the authorities)?

....the hospital contemplating apparently committing the Class A misdemeanor by not telling police (who were first notified by the Giants organization) that someone had admitted with a gunshot wound? Two obvious possiblities, neither pretty: the facility was covering up for a celebrity (Burress had given his name as "Harris Smith" but he was recognized by hospital workers); or the facility typically covers up for violent offenders by not reporting the presence of their victims to law enforcement authorities.

....the NYG football team (which at least didn't cover up the incident) thinking when it allowed both Bradshaw and Pierce to play in the game (won by the Giants 23-7) on Sunday against the Redskins? Probably the organization recognized the legal issues in which it would have been involved by taking immediate action against the players, primarily an appeal by the National Football League Players Association and the players' attorney(s). Still, the NFL personal conduct policy (as of early 2007) includes

It will be considered conduct detrimental for Covered Persons to engage in (or to aid, abet or conspire to engage in or to incite) violent and/or criminal activity. Examples of such Prohibited Conduct include, without limitation: any crime involving the use or threat of physical violence to a person or persons; the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime; possession or distribution of a weapon in violation of state or federal law....

....a guy who would accidentally shoot himself doing with a gun in a nightclub? Not figuratively, but literally- what would he be doing with it? A fellow who recently signed a five-year, $35 million contract would be able to hire a bodyguard or two.

At least, the New York City Police Department should be commended. As of this point, it- almost alone- has done nothing irresponsible, morally reprehensible, or criminal.

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