NY police shoot and kill Brooklyn man carrying metal pipe

Katrina Barker
April 8, 2018

Police say he was brandishing a metal pipe that officers and 911 callers mistook for a gun.

The chain of events that ended with Vassell dying at the corner of Utica Avenue and Montgomery Street began around 4:40 p.m. Wednesday when police responded to three 911 calls that described a black man in a brown jacket waving what the witnesses mistakenly described as a silver gun, Monahan said.

Two days after the his death, the NYPD released the transcript as well as a compilation of footage from surveillance cameras tracking Mr. Vassell's movement before officers fired the combined 10 shots at the bipolar man.

The NYPD said Vassell, who migrated from Jamaica when he was six years old, had pointed the instrument at five police officers, who responded to the 911 calls, before he was shot dead. Locals told reporters Vassell was known for picking up trash off the street and playing with it like toys. And as NPR's Joel Rose reports, they are questioning why police were so quick to shoot.

"Where is the gun?" a dispatcher asked. "Despite the mayor and first lady touting their mental health initiative, they continue to be silent about the repeated killings of people in emotional distress by police, which now totals at least 11 in the past four years", Brooklyn Movement Center Deputy Director Anthonine Pierre said in a statement.

NY state's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, announced that he would investigate the shooting.

"In this climate where victims of sexual assault across the country are thinking about events and crimes that occurred to them in the past and are wondering whether to report or not, we want them to know we are open for business", said Herman at a Friday news conference to announce the campaign.

The protesters then marched to a nearby police precinct, shouting "no justice, no peace!"

Demonstrators flood the intersection of Utica Avenue and Montgomery Street for a rally in protest of the police shooting death of Saheed Vassell in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn
NY police shoot and kill Brooklyn man carrying metal pipe

According to the released transcripts, one caller to 911 reported that Vassell "looks like he's insane but he's pointing something at people that looks like a gun".

"We're committed to conducting an independent, comprehensive, and fair investigation". "We must all pursue justice", Adams said.

Before shooting, the officers yelled at Vassell to "drop it, drop it", the officials said about the incident that happened in "seconds".

"Police had a choice".

"And the way they killed him, they didn't give him no choice", he continued.

As per an executive order, the attorney general has the authority to oversee investigations into incidents where unarmed civilians die during interactions with police, or incidents where there is significant question as to whether the civilian was armed and unsafe.

Civil rights activists see it as yet another fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by police - but investigators say they had reason to believe Vassell was armed. Stephon Clark, 22, was shot by officers responding to a report of someone breaking auto windows. The officers feared he had a gun, but it turned out he was holding a cellphone, Sacramento police said.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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