Police shoot and kill man, pipe confused as firearmPosted:

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Police fatally shot an unarmed man in Brooklyn on Wednesday after mistaking a metal pipe he was holding for a gun, authorities said. The death of Saheed Vassell, 34, provoked hours of emotionally charged protests and has prompted the New York state attorney general to open an investigation.

Around 4:40 P.M. Wednesday, police received three 911 calls reporting a black man in a brown jacket pointing what was "described as a silver firearm" at people on the street in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, said Terence Monahan, the New York Police Department's chief of department. Five officers - three in plainclothes and two in uniform - responded to the scene at Utica Ave. and Montgomery Street, Monahan said.

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. Four of the officers opened fire on Vassell and struck him several times, police said. In all, three plainsclothes officers and one uniformed officer fired 10 rounds between them, Monahan said. According to Monahan, the officers immediately rendered medical aid to Vassell, who was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

Monahan held up an image of the scene captured seconds before the officers approached Vassell, and said surveillance video along the street corroborated the officers' account of what happened. None of the officers were wearing body cameras, he said. The object that Vassell was holding up was holding wound up "being a metal pipe with some sort of knob at the end of it", Monahan said.

Vassell lived just around the corner from where the shooting took place. Many of Vassell's family members and neighbors told local reporters that he had bipolar disorder and was well-known to the area's police and shopkeepers, one of whom described the mentally ill man as "harmless". The shooting drew an angry crowd Wednesday night to the busy Crown Heights intersection to confront about a dozen additional police officers who had arrived at the scene.

"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. "We're committed to conducting an independent, comprehensive and fair investigation," Schneiderman spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said in an email. "As a reminder, 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 dangerous."

Vassell's father, Eric Vassell, told the New York Times that his son, a welder, had moved to the United States from Jamaica when he was 6. Saheed Vassell had bipolar disorder and had been hospitalized several times in recent years, the elder Vassell told the newspaper. He was a fixture in the neighborhood - and his mental illness was widely known to residents and police, the Times reported, according to interviews with multiple residents. "Every cop in this neighborhood knows him," John Fuller told the newspaper.

On Thursday morning, Vassell's grief-stricken aunt, Nora Ford, went to the corner where her nephew was shot so she could "touch the blood where he died," the New York Daily News reported. "It's a piece of iron and they kill him for a piece of iron," Ford told the newspaper. "I bet if he was a white kid, they wouldn't fire a shot at him like that."

Jaccbot Hinds, 40, told the Daily News that he witnessed the shooting and 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." Police on Wednesday did not address whether they gave Vassell any warnings. NYPD representatives did not immediately respond to questions sent by e-mail Thursday morning.

The NAACP expressed outrage over Vassell's death Thursday and demanded that New York police release all surveillance footage they had of the shooting. The civil rights group noted that Vassell's death came after both New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill condemned the police shooting of Deborah Danner, an "emotionally disturbed" woman in the Bronx.

"We're left wondering what's changed as NYPD officers have once again killed an innocent New Yorker struggling with mental health issues," Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said in a statement. "Mr. Vassell and his mental health issues were reportedly well-known to the Crown Heights community and NYPD officers."

Vassell's death comes amid heightened tensions nationwide regarding police accountability. On March 18, Sacramento police killed 22-year-old Stephon Clark as they responded to reports of a vandal in the neighborhood. Clark was shot eight times, mostly in the back, as he ran to his grandmother's back yard, according to an autopsy requested by his family. Police in California said they opened fire on Clark because they thought he had a gun, but later said that he had only a white iPhone in his hand. Clark's death triggered weeks of intense protests and public outrage in Sacramento.

When asked at a news conference Wednesday how the Crown Heights shooting compared with similar incidents around the country - and how police could prevent future incidents like it, including their responses to people with mental illness - Monahan declined to answer. "Again, this is officers facing an incident on the street. Let's stay focused on what they did today," he said. "This was not an emotionally disturbed call. This was a call of a man pointing what 911 calls and people felt was a gun at people on the street. When we encounter him, he turns what appears to be a gun at the officers. We have to stay straight on the facts of this incident today."

American police have shot and killed at least 3234 people since January 2015, according to the Washington Post's database tracking such shootings. Black victims account for about 23 percent of those shot and killed, and about 36 percent of the 222 unarmed people who have been shot and killed.

In at least a quarter of all fatal police shootings since January 2015, the person shot and killed is believed to have been in the midst of a mental or emotional health crisis at the time of the shooting, according to an analysis by The Post.

At least 289 people have been shot and killed so far in 2018, one in five of whom were in the midst of a mental or emotional health crisis at the time of the shooting, according to The Post database.


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Just a few questions. How do five police officers confuse such an obscure iron pipe with a weapon? How do five police officers fail to warn the subject or tell him to lower his weapon?

I have to agree with the aunt on this one. When speaking about the 19 year old who shot 17 kids at a school in Florida, this kid wasn't shot because he didn't "pose an immediate threat towards police officers" because he wasn't brandishing a weapon; why couldn't they give this 34 year old man a chance to lower his "weapon" by asking him to do so?

I'm not usually against police officers using their authority to take down perps but... TO TAKE DOWN LEGITIMATE DANGERS TO THE COMMUNITY, NOT A MAN ARMED WITH AN OBSCURE SHAPED IRON PIPE. This was a misuse of force.
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The metal pipe looked like a gun the way he was holding and he was also taking a shooting stance. He knew very well what would happen when he pointed the object at the officers like he was brandishing a pistol. The officers acted accordingly to neutralize the threat because the suspect made himself look like he he was going to fire at them.
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#4. Posted:
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Berlin wrote"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!"


I love how they act like he was innocent, like he did not assualt and terrorize people.

"Ten times?" another man demanded, referring to the number of rounds reportedly fired. "For what?"


They should be happy that he was only shot 10 times. I have seen many videos of police officers dumping their magazines into people.

On Thursday, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he had opened an investigation into Vassell's death. "We're committed to conducting an independent, comprehensive and fair investigation," Schneiderman spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said in an email. "As a reminder, 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 dangerous."


The guy was not unarmed. He had a metal pipe. A metal pipe can deal a good bit of damage to people and he had already assaulted 1 person and terrorized multiple others. And the man was bipolar, I would consider him dangerous.

On Thursday morning, Vassell's grief-stricken aunt, Nora Ford, went to the corner where her nephew was shot so she could "touch the blood where he died," the New York Daily News reported. "It's a piece of iron and they kill him for a piece of iron," Ford told the newspaper. "I bet if he was a white kid, they wouldn't fire a shot at him like that."


This whole situation is getting a ton of media attention soley because of his skin color. I already knew this, but it proves my point even further. Obviously she does not know how much damage can be done with a iron pipe, maybe someone needs to educate her. And it is not about the pipe, it is how he acted with it. If he had not acted like it was a gun, things might have gone a different way.

Jaccbot Hinds, 40, told the Daily News that he witnessed the shooting and 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." Police on Wednesday did not address whether they gave Vassell any warnings. NYPD representatives did not immediately respond to questions sent by e-mail Thursday morning.


If you look at the video of the guys actions, you can see that he took up a shooting stance and raised the pipe like it was a gun and he was going to shoot the police. Were the police supposed to wait and see if he was going to shoot them? No, they were in fear for their lifes and they shoot the guy. What do you people expect to happen when someone acts like they are going to shoot the police?

The NAACP expressed outrage over Vassell's death Thursday and demanded that New York police release all surveillance footage they had of the shooting. The civil rights group noted that Vassell's death came after both New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill condemned the police shooting of Deborah Danner, an "emotionally disturbed" woman in the Bronx.


Of course they did.

"We're left wondering what's changed as NYPD officers have once again killed an innocent New Yorker struggling with mental health issues," Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said in a statement. "Mr. Vassell and his mental health issues were reportedly well-known to the Crown Heights community and NYPD officers."


F*** her. All she is doing to trying to start a race war. As stated earlier, the man was not innocent. The NAACP and the BLM movement are just as bad as the KKK to a certain extent.

American police have shot and killed at least 3234 people since January 2015, according to the Washington Post's database tracking such shootings. Black victims account for about 23 percent of those shot and killed, and about 36 percent of the 222 unarmed people who have been shot and killed.


This is simply race baiting.

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The video above expresses how I currently feel about this whole situation perfectly. Not because of how the police handled the situation, but because of how people such as you, have reacted to the situation.


Just a few questions. How do five police officers confuse such an obscure iron pipe with a weapon? How do five police officers fail to warn the subject or tell him to lower his weapon?

I have to agree with the aunt on this one. When speaking about the 19 year old who shot 17 kids at a school in Florida, this kid wasn't shot because he didn't "pose an immediate threat towards police officers" because he wasn't brandishing a weapon; why couldn't they give this 34 year old man a chance to lower his "weapon" by asking him to do so?


The five officers mistaked the pipe for a gun just like many of the citizens involved mistaked the pipe for a gun. And as stated earlier, where the police supposed to wait and see if the guy was going to shoot them? No, they seen the guy point, what looked like a gun at them, and they shoot him.

I'm not usually against police officers using their authority to take down perps but... TO TAKE DOWN LEGITIMATE DANGERS TO THE COMMUNITY, NOT A MAN ARMED WITH AN OBSCURE SHAPED IRON PIPE. This was a misuse of force.


You can not be serious. The man assualted atleast one person. terrorized multiple people, then acted like he was going to shoot the police, and you are seriously upset about the police shooting him?

Looking at the video, the way he held the pipe, the pipe looked exactly like a revolver.

The guy knew what he was doing and I do not feel sorry for him at all.
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I'm usually either on the fence about situations like this or in agreement that the person didn't need to be shot, but I really feel like the police were justified with this one.

He was walking around pointing the pipe at people and the way he was holding it made it look like a gun. The whole point of whatever prank he was trying to pull required that it did look like a gun otherwise it wouldn't have worked in scaring people.

If he was stood, holding it by his side when the police showed up and wasn't holding it like it was a weapon then I would understand the outrage if he got shot, but he wasn't. He was holding it so that it looked like an old-style revolver, in a shooting stance, directly at the police.

I usually don't throw my opinion in on these topics because I never feel like I can stand by what I'm saying but this feels open and shut.
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This time i think the police were justified. This guy clearly has mental health issues, But the way the object was being used, was to imitate a firearm, and the police got a call saying a guy was walking around with a gun, and then you respond and see the "gun" being pointed at you, so they really had no choice. I would understand the outrage if the police were told it was a pipe or whatever but this case seems justified.
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It's amazing to see the boot licking in this thread. Cops could kill your brother and you people would still find a reason to say why it was justified and your brother was just a thug.
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Tywin wroteIt's amazing to see the boot licking in this thread. Cops could kill your brother and you people would still find a reason to say why it was justified and your brother was just a thug.


Do you believe that the police should operate under the 'do not fire unless fired upon' rule of thumb?
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Aced wroteThis time i think the police were justified. This guy clearly has mental health issues, But the way the object was being used, was to imitate a firearm, and the police got a call saying a guy was walking around with a gun, and then you respond and see the "gun" being pointed at you, so they really had no choice. I would understand the outrage if the police were told it was a pipe or whatever but this case seems justified.


I agree but people find reasons to agrue. And even if the guy was to hit him with a metal pipe in the head it could kill him (I am saying if the guy ran at him by the way).
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