The friends of Saheed Vassell gathered in the stairwell and hallway of his family's apartment building Wednesday night.
Once officers located Vassell, he took a "two-handed shooting stance" and pointed the pipe he was holding at the five officers approaching him, according to Monahan. Police say four officers fired 10 rounds at Vassell after he crouched and pointed the object at them. On Thursday, lawmakers in NY passed a bill that would hold police officers to the same standards as probation officers and prison and jail guards, who are already barred, nationwide, from having sex with those over whom they hold power.
Years after the New York City Police Department targeted them for surveillance, New Jersey Muslims reached a long-awaited settlement Thursday that awards them thousands of dollars in damages and input toward reform efforts. It's nearly like they did a hit. "They didn't say 'stop, look for a minute", nothing.
"They didn't say "freeze, ' they didn't say "put your hands up", Witness Jack Hinds said".
"I seen the police auto (come) in, police jump out and pop, pop, pop, pop", one witness said. "Law enforcement should not just come out and shoot and ask questions after". Eric Vassell said said he had never seen his son act as if he had a gun. "He hasn't taken his medication for years", his father Eric told the Daily News. He added, "We were always anxious for him". They had no information, the mayor said, that the person they were confronting was mentally ill. Of note, none of the officers were wearing body cameras at the time of the incident, Monahan said.
As is usual in such cases of police brutality, the victim was an unarmed African-American man who reportedly suffered from mental health issues - a fact that most people in the neighborhood were apparently well aware of.
Following the Vassell's fatal shooting, a clerk at a store on the corner of the shooting said that a crowd formed along the perimeter of the scene taped off by police, with community members expressing anger at police. "In every state, they murder black people and they get away with it", said a woman near the scene. 'He speaks to himself, usually he has an orange Bible or a rosary in his hand.
Andre Wilson, 38, who has known Vassell for 20 years, told the nydailynews that Vassell was mentally challenged but harmless. Above is a representational image of police officers along with their firearms.
Others told the Times Vassell "was a familiar figure on the corner", and that "he had a penchant for picking things up off the street - cigarette lighters, empty bottles and other curbside flotsam - and playing with them like toys". Meanwhile, tensions in the Crown Heights neighborhood where he was shot Wednesday continue to simmer.
Wilson said he was shocked that it would come to this.