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New York police shootings near record lows in 2011

By Chris Francescani

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City police fatally shot nine suspects and wounded 19 others last year, the second-lowest annual figures in 40 years for the 35,000-member force, according to a report from the department.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said on Thursday the report demonstrates the New York Police Department is "by far the most restrained of every major city in America."

By comparison, NYPD officers fatally shot 39 suspects and wounded 71 in 1990. In 1971, NYPD officers fatally shot 93 suspects and wounded 221.

Shootings fell to a low in 2010, when 8 suspects were fatally shot and 16 wounded by police fire.

Kelly said the department evaluates each shooting "in great depth" and officers involved re-enact the incident for investigators "as quickly as possible."

The report comes just days after a well-publicized incident in which an NYPD detective fired a single shot at an unarmed motorist, killing him. Police say the motorist had been driving erratically, ignored warnings to show his hands and reached beneath the dashboard as police approached his car with their guns drawn.

That account has been disputed by a witness in the car who said the driver's hands never left the steering wheel. The incident is under investigation.

(Reporting By Chris Francescani; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Dan Grebler)

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