'Law & Order SVU' recap: Shooting of unarmed black man sends shockwaves through NYPD

The shooting of an innocent and unarmed black man brings chaos to the NYPD in this week’s all new “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

The episode, “Community Policing,” begins as detectives from the SVU and a neighboring precinct both respond to the rape of a woman in her home not far from a low income housing project. Her husband walked in on the crime in progress and was pistol whipped, they are told.

The couple’s 12 year-old daughter was also sexually assaulted. When they reveal that a member of their family is on the the police force, everyone gets fired up to find and collar a suspect.

Lieutenant Benson (Mariska Hargitay) addresses the beat cops as does their Captain, who says he had “no problem with stop and frisk.”

The squad heads to the mostly black neighborhood where the crime took place. Most people refuse to help them. One man says her saw a person matching their description in the neighborhood wearing a basketball jersey with the number 23.

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    An African American man matching the description is spotted in the neighborhood and begins to run. Police chase and eventually shoot him. Thirty-five times.

    Three cops from the other precinct say they shot Terence Reynolds, 22, when he reached for a what appeared to be a gun. But no weapon can be found.

    Internal Affairs Bureau gets involved. The Deputy Commissioner shows at the office of ADA Barba (Raul Esparza) and tells him:  “The sooner the grand jury clears these three, the sooner the city can begin to heal.”  But Barba wants to convict.

    He is confronted in his office by the Reynolds’ parents, a local African American reverend, and their lawyer who promises a “parallel investigation” and independent autopsy to keep everything honest.

    Det. Rollins (Kelli Giddish) shows up at a bar to meet Det. Robert Dumas (Scott William Winters), an old friend and one of the three officers involved in the shooting.  He is concerned and wants to know if SVU has his back. “He was guilty of something,” he says of the suspect. “Why else would he run?”

    Barba comes down to IAB. He tells them that he has examined the video tapes of the officers being interviewed and he notices something strange where the video cuts out.

    He is told that IAB had a problem with each quoting the exact legal definition of the use of force. They looked coached.

    Out of nowhere, former Lt. Declan Murphy (Donal Logue) appears on the scene. He’s tracked down Rollins and tells her that he was in Serbia and heard she was pregnant. The baby is his, but she does not sound interested in involving him in the child’s life.

    A lawyer representing the victim’s family appears on TV with video of the shooting that shows cops gunning him down, even as he attempts to put hands in the air and is not seen with a gun.

    Olivia and the captain argue that it was dark and the there cops were doing what any cop would do in the situation

    In Court, Finn, Carisi and the victim’s father all testify. The dad says his son didn’t do anything wrong. “He was just trying to come home.”

    Barba grills Benson about what she would have done in that situation. “In my opinion, all police procedures were followed,” she says.

    The grand jury comes back and says it wants to recommend higher charges in light of the evidence.

    Cops are indicted on charges of manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

    At a bar, watching on TV, the gang is discussing the case. Rollins says if the case does go to trial there is no way the prosecution prove intent.

    “After what happened today, you are going to trust a New York jury?” Dumas asks.

    Then Carisi gets a call. Another cop has been shot during a routine traffic stop.

    He didn’t make it. The mayor is on his way to the hospital and he is not happy.

    Things are about to get a lot more complicated.