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New Yorkers Protest Police Shooting of Unarmed Black Man

New Yorkers Protest Police Shooting of Unarmed Black Man

Three callers dialed 911 reporting his actions.

New York's attorney general launched an investigation Thursday into the police-involved shooting death of a bipolar Brooklyn man accused of brandishing a metal object at officers, who mistakenly believed it to be a firearm.

A tense crowd gathered after the shooting, with some people shouting at officers and decrying the killing as another example of an unarmed black man dying at the hands of police officers who overreacted.

Afterward, it was discovered the object was actually a pipe with a knob on it.

There's been a mixture of outrage and defense in response to Vassell's death.

At a vigil Thursday night, Vassell's mother, Lorna, said her son "came from a good home" and that he was not homeless.

Saheed Vassell's father has told reporters his son had previously worked as a welder.

"He's polite, nice, he's kind".

The Hassan case was filed in 2012 on behalf of individuals, businesses, student associations and mosques in New Jersey who said that NY detectives had violated the Constitution by conducting surveillance of at least 20 mosques, 14 restaurants, 11 retail stores, two grade schools and two Muslim student organizations and creating more than 20 maps of Newark noting the location of mosques and the ethnic composition of Muslim neighborhoods.

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

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Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio (dih BLAH'-zee-oh) called the shooting a "tragedy" and said Vassell had "a profound mental health problem".

Residents told news outlets that the younger Vassell was well-known in the neighborhood as "mentally ill but generally harmless".

A photograph from the video where Saheed Vassell was pointing a metal object. Some said he was well known to the police who patrolled the area and they should have been familiar with him.

Uniformed and plainclothes officers responding to a 911 report of a man with a gun threatening people in Crown Heights encountered Vassell, 34, near Montgomery Street and Utica Avenue at about 5 p.m. Wednesday, the NYPD said. You know what I mean? (To someone else) What is he pointing in people's face?

"There's a guy walking around the street, he looks like he's insane, but he's pointing something at people that looks like a gun, and he's like popping it as if like he's pulling the trigger", one caller said, according to cops.

"There's a guy walking around the street".

LEWIS: That don't look like no gun.

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

Four of the officers then fired a total of 10 rounds. "That's an exceedingly hard, tense, split-second decision that has to be made".

His killing followed the fatal shooting by police of an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark, 22, in Sacramento, California, that has sparked more than two weeks of demonstrations. He frequented local fruit stands and businesses in the Crown Heights neighborhood and lived within two blocks of where he was gunned down.


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