The man being pursued by police below was allegedly smoking a marijuana cigarette. He was wielding a knife. Cops said he threatened them with it and that they tried to use pepper spray to disarm him. Failing that, after following him down a few city blocks at the heart of Times Square they shot him at least nine times:
I started working in the Times Square area dressing up as Shrek in 2006, before moving on to NBC and then Fox News, both right around the corner too. I walked across Times Square twice a day for about five years as part of my commute, and can say anecdotally that the smell of marijuana in the area is not all that much less common than the smell of, say, street meat. Sometimes you can smell marijuana and see cops from the same location.
Possession of marijuana (with intent only to use) is, technically, decriminalized in New York, and the mayor and police commissioner both said they supported Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to also decriminalize "open possession" (which would be the crime for which cops approached the man shot in the video). Cops in New York City have previously been known to induce people they've stopped to display the marijuana they're carrying to avoid a search that would lead to prosecution, and then once the marijuana is shown make an arrest for open possession.
One man says his cell phone was confiscated by police after he recorded the incident.
More details, and the NYPD's defense from The New York Post.
That drug war victory has got to be around the corner now.