A reader of Kim’s site sent him an interesting bit of information. It seems that the Queens, New York DA gave a press release about some guys who were arrested for possession of cocaine and a “cop killer” gun. The gun in question is a Fabrique Nationale FN Five-seveN (yes, that’s the correct capitalization). It fires the 5.7×28 cartridge, essentially a hot .22 Magnum. But the story, which went out as an AP piece taken apparently pretty much verbatim from the Queens DA’s press release had this to say, as reported by Newsday on July 20:
3 Queens men charged with possessing cop killer gun
July 20, 2006, 10:26 PM EDT
NEW YORK — Three men have been charged with illegally possessing two handguns, one of which is called a cop killer because it can break through most bulletproof vests and plates worn by police officers, prosecutors announced Thursday.
William Davis, 21, his brother Clarence Davis, 18, and their friend Gquan Lloyd, 18, all of Queens, were charged with multiple counts of criminal possession of a weapon, District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.
During the execution of a narcotics search warrant Wednesday at the apartment the men shared in Far Rockaway, police found a defaced, unloaded Fabrique Nationale Five-seveN semiautomatic handgun, the first recovery of such a weapon in the city, Brown said.
“Its presence is troubling and makes the job of street cops that much more dangerous,” Brown said.
Of the 616 police officers killed nationwide between 1994 and 2003, 425 were shot with FN 5.7s, Brown said.
The FN 5.7, which comes from Belgium, has a 20-round magazine, and its bullets can penetrate 48 layers of Kevlar, the material used in bulletproof vests.
Police also discovered a loaded 9mm semiautomatic handgun and an eighth of an ounce of cocaine during the search, prosecutors said.
The three arrested men, who also were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, were being held and were expected to be arraigned in Queens Criminal Court, prosecutors said.
It wasn’t clear if the men had retained lawyers before their arraignment. There was no telephone listing for them at the home address provided by the district attorney’s office.
The men each could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Kim’s reader took exception to DA Richard Brown’s insistence that A) 616 police officers were killed during the period from 1994 to 2003, and B) that 425 of those were killed with FN Five-seveN pistols. Kim’s reader found the story at the website for NY1.com, and wrote them a protest email. To their credit, the VP of news at NY1.com did respond:
You are right. The statistics are wrong and we are removing the story from our website. For what it’s worth, the number were cited by Queens D.A. Richard Brown at his press conference. The other information in the story also came from the D.A. While we tend to give credit to law enforcement sources for knowing what they are talking about, we should have realized that the statistics didn’t make any sense.
Thanks for the feedback.
And they did indeed pull the story. No retraction, but at least it’s not there anymore.
It is, however, at several other sites. For example, the site I linked to above, which is Newsday‘s. It was also carried by the TimesLedger, but the TimesLedger has apparently yanked it and posted the DA’s “revision”:
Queens DA revises release about powerful handgun
By Stephen Stirling
The Queens district attorney’s office said Monday “a miscommunication” was to blame for inaccurate information it released in a press release last Thursday that was quoted in a TimesLedger story on the newspaper’s Web site Friday.
The DA’s office issued the press release about the July 19 arrest of three Far Rockaway youths, who were allegedly found in possession of a bag of cocaine and a powerful handgun, the Belgian-made Fabrique Nationale (FN) 5.7. In the release, the DA said that 425 of the 616 officers killed in the line of duty between 1994 and 2003 had been killed with the FN 5.7.
“There was a miscommunication between the officer and the prosecutor of the case,” said DA spokesman Kevin Ryan. “The statement should have read that 425 officers were killed with a handgun, not with this handgun.”
Of course, this was just a minor “miscommunication,” taking nothing away from the real story:
The TimesLedger story elicited a number of e-mails and phone calls from Web readers around the country who questioned the DA’s claim that the officers had been killed by the FN 5.7. The DA said Monday that both the press release and the criminal complaint filed in Queens Criminal Court last Thursday have subsequently been changed to reflect the proper information, but the discovery of the gun in Far Rockaway was still a concern.
“The FN 5.7 is a lethal handgun imported from Belgium and capable of easily penetrating most police vets(sic) and plates,” DA Brown said in last week’s release. “While this is the first time that such a deadly weapon has been recovered in New York City, its presence is troubling and makes the job of street cops that much more dangerous.”
The revised press release retained Brown’s statement about the FN 5.7, which has only been available on the commercial market since 2004.
OOPS! That makes it pretty hard for it to be responsible for any officer deaths prior to 2004, doesn’t it?
The DA’s original release also raised questions about how powerful the rounds fired by the FN 5.7 can be. A deposition given by Detective Marques Stewart of the 100th Precinct last Thursday said the FN 5.7 is referred to as a “cop-killer” because it can be fired from up to 100 yards with a great degree of accuracy and because the bullet it fires travels at more than 2,000 feet per second, making it capable of penetrating most police vests and plates.
Vests? Maybe. But probably not at 100 yards. Plates? Not bloody likely. Plates are designed to stop rifle bullets. Just another little “miscommunication?”
According a report issued by the company that sells and markets the handgun in the United States, FNH USA, the only type of ammunition compatible with the FN 5.7 sold for commercial use in the United States is the SS196 bullet, which was found to be non-armor piercing by the FBI’s Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in 2005. The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms report said the SS196 had been classified as “not armor piercing ammunition under federal firearms statutes.” The FBI unit report said the SS192 bullet, which also can be fired by the FN 5.7, did pierce level IIA kevlar vests, which are widely used by police officers in the United States.
I’ve covered armor-piercing ammo and National Institute of Justice ballistic vest protection levels before. A Level IIA vest is designed to stop a 9mm or .40 S&W round. It will not stop a .357 Magnum or heavier caliber. A Type IIIA is designed to do that, and up to a .44 Magnum.
Is SS192 “armor piercing” and “highly accurate” ammo capable of a blistering 2000 feet per second! really all that? According to Wikipedia, the SS192 round fires a 28 grain aluminum-core projectile. To give you some comparison, the standard bullet used in .22 Long Rifle rimfire rounds weighs at least 32 grains. The standard military ball used in M-16 rifles is a 62 grain bullet. The “Standard Duty” round for the 5.7×28, which is designed to penetrate light plate armor, is the SS190 – and is not available for public purchase. The SS190 projectile weighs 32 grains. The muzzle energy of the SS192 is 260 ft.-lbs out of the Five-seveN. The muzzle energy of the SS190 is 315 ft.-lbs.
The muzzle energy of CCI Blazer 115 grain 9mm ammo is about 340 ft.-lbs.
CCI’s 158 grain .357 Magnum Blazer load has a muzzle energy of 535 ft.-lbs. And it’ll go through a Level IIA vest, too.
So, tell me again how powerful the Five-seveN is? The DA tried to make it sound like the next .44 Magnum. Remember, it’s a cop killer “because it can break through most bulletproof vests and plates worn by police officers”. Vests and plates. But you don’t get plates in ballistic armor until you reach NIJ Type III vests, which are designed to stop rifle bullets. The Type IIIA does not have plates, and the SS192 can’t penetrate a IIIA vest.
While FNH USA has said that the SS192 is no longer imported for commercial sale in the United States, the Queens DA was recently informed by FBI officials that successful commercial purchases of SS192 munitions were made by the agency at a munitions outlet in Virginia, Ryan said. FNH USA did not immediately return calls for comment.
Well, the FBI, being a Federal department, can still purchase SS192 ammo. Don’t know why they’d want to, they can get SS190. And though ammo dealers are no longer importing SS192, I’m not sure that remaining inventory is illegal to sell publicly. But I doubt gang-bangers know where to get it.
The controversy stems from a court-authorized police raid of the Far Rockaway home of William Davis, 21, brother Clarence Davis, 18, and friend Gquan Lloyd, 18, on the morning of July 19, Brown’s office said. Police said they found a FN 5.7 handgun along with another less-powerful handgun and a bag of cocaine.
Kudos to the TimesLedger! It got most of the salient points right, including the the fact that SS192 ammo is no longer imported. You can only get ballistic-tip and softpoint ammo for the 5.7×28 now, unless (apparently) you know exactly where to shop.
And it was also the only news source that bothered.
The story was also carried, as noted, by Newsday. On July 21 they issued a revised version – no mention of police officer deaths, no clarification about the ammunition or gun manufacturing history, nada – with no explanation.
The Staten Island Advance did the same thing. The original press release was reported on July 20, the revised one posted on July 21. No explanation, no retraction, no additional information.
Radio station 1010AM posted the press release on July 20. The currently posted version doesn’t have the “425 officers killed by” scaaaary number, so I assume they just erased the original and posted the revision without bothering to change anything, including the date.
Note also that this story is an AP release. Hard to tell how many dead-tree publications printed the original story verbatim, or how many people out there now believe that this one gun is responsible for the deaths of 425 police officers.
Boy, it’s a good thing the mainstream media has all those checks and balances that the blogosphere lacks, isn’t it? And professional journalists who can cut-and-paste from press releases with the best of them! I’m awed by what journalism schools teach that we poor ignorant pajama-clad bloggers lack.