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Brooklyn Protestors Marched for Saheed Vassell After Police Shot and Killed Him

08 April 2018

The NYPD says 380 rapes were reported in the first three months of the year, an increase of 74, or almost 25 percent over the same period of 2017. (Police sources told CBS New York that the officers involved in the shooting were part of a strategic response group and an anti-crime unit, not officers of the 71st precinct.) Chants such as "Our streets, our blocks, we don't need these killer cops", and "No justice, no peace, f*ck these racist police" were heard in the crowd the crowd.

The video depicted Vassell, who is black, pointing the object at police in a combat stance seconds before officers fired.

Clarke said she looks forward to working with elected officials in ensuring that "the appropriate focus is given to addressing the mentally ill and their interactions with NYPD, and proper, clear and transparent protocols are in place to make sure that lethal force is used as a last resort when interacting with the mentally ill of our communities, so we can avoid losing another life to unnecessary violence". In fact, Vassell was wielding the head of a welding torch-his father said he previously worked as a welder.

"All he did was just walk around the neighborhood", he said.

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NY officials, however, are defending the officers' actions, implying their decisions made sense in the moment.

"If this individual with a loaded weapon, who for whatever reason, including a mental health challenge, was ready to use it, that's a split-second matter of trying to save lives right then and there", de Blasio said, according to CNN. Vassell is seen on the video excerpts jabbing numerous pedestrians with a short metal tube.

When officers got on scene they say Vassell pointed what they thought was a gun at them and they opened fire, striking him several times. The younger Vassell's mental disability was allegedly well known by both his neighbors and local police, according to the Times report.

"There is a guy in a brown jacket walking around pointing - I don't know". Although he admitted that pointing a pipe at people may have caused panic, Eric Vassell said the officers acted rashly. "He looks like he's insane, but he's pointing something at people that looks like a gun", one caller tells the dispatcher.

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Again, per the calls, de Blasio defended the officers.

Three callers rang 911 saying a man was "pointing a silver firearm at people on the street", NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said. "We've got to recognize if they believe they are in immediate matter of life-and-death to the people in the surrounding area, that's an exceedingly hard, tense split-second decision that has to be made".

Even with NYPD's explanation, there continues to be public fury over Vassell's killing, particularly in light of the death of Stephon Clark and other unarmed Black men.

The case of Saheed Vassell is unfolding in Crown Heights, a neighborhood already saddled with a complicated history of race relations.

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Brooklyn Protestors Marched for Saheed Vassell After Police Shot and Killed Him