With the passing years, hearing about an officer shooting an unarmed suspect is sadly not far from the norm? The protests from citizens against wrongful police shootings have sparked the nation and continue to form through the country in hopes of a change. Whether we will see that change is hard to tell as the stories of these bad calls keep flooding in and taking the lives of loved ones around us.
The latest story yet, a Brooklyn man was shot and killed this past Wednesday at the end of an officer-related shooting. Saheed Vassell, 34, was said to be holding a metal pipe in which the officers mistook for a firearm. According to Terence Monahan, the New York Police Department’s chief of department, the police received three 911 calls reporting a black man in a brown jacket was pointing a silver firearm at people on the street in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.
At which five officers responded, two in uniform and two in plainclothes. When they arrived, they saw Vassell “brandishing what [appeared] to be a firearm, pointing it at people,” he said. “The suspect then took a two-handed shooting stance and pointed an object at the approaching officers,” Monahan said.
According to the report, four of the officers released fire on Vassell for a total of 10 rounds being fired between all of the officers which struck Vassell several times and ultimately led to his death. The officers were not wearing body cameras yet moments before the deadly altercation Vassells actions were caught on a street surveillance camera. The object that Vassell was in fact holding was a metal pipe that had some sort of ball shape at the end of it.
Vassell lived in the neighborhood and it was said that the residents and the police in the area knew the victim. According to Vassell’s family members, the victim was not mentally well and in fact had a bipolar disorder in which the police were well aware of his mental state. The neighbors described this mentally ill man as “harmless”.
A crowd of angry protesters quickly formed to confront local authorities on their frustration of their misconception leading to yet another man dead.
“It’s not a crime scene! You murdered him!” a woman can be heard screaming, hoarsely, between expletives. “A young man in his own community, shot down — yet again!”
“Ten times?” another man demanded, referring to the number of rounds reportedly fired. “For what?”
On Thursday, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he had opened an investigation into Vassell’s death.
Jaccbot Hinds, 40, told the Daily News that he witnessed the shooting and said officers did not warn Vassell before opening fire.
“They just hopped out of the car,” Hinds told the newspaper. “It’s almost like they did a hit. They didn’t say please. They didn’t say put your hands up, nothing.”
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