United States police mistake pipe for gun, kill unarmed black man

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

It happened just before 5 p.m.in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn after three 911 callers said a "man was pointing a silver firearm at people on the street", according to NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan.

Monahan said the man "took a two-handed shooting stance and pointed at the officers", who in return fired a total of 10 shots.

"He collects things off the street and piles it up on the roof", said Martinez, who also showed an envelope addressed to Vassell's father, Eric, that was left with the scraps.

The video snippets show Vassell, 34, pointing a pipe he was holding at several people as he walked down the street, frightening them as they go about their business.

Police said Vassell was killed by officers responding to reports of a man aiming a gun at pedestrians.

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"They didn't say "freeze, hands up, drop your gun", none of that", Jaccpot Hinds said. Monahan said that the plainclothes officers were part of an anti-crime unit and that the uniformed officers belonged to the Strategic Response Group, which is assigned to major events and criminal hot spots. "He speaks to himself, usually he has an orange Bible or a rosary in his hand".

After the shooting, dozens of Crown Heights residents crowded around police lines, some apparently angry. "I bet if he was a white kid, they wouldn't fire a shot at him like that".

"He hasn't taken his medication for years". The man shot was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital.

Andre Wilson, 38, who has known Vassell for 20 years, told the nydailynews that Vassell was mentally challenged but harmless. "He never had a problem with anyone".

In 2014, US District Judge William Martini threw out the lawsuit after ruling that the program did not violate the US Constitution despite allegations that the nation's largest police force spied on people, places, and businesses based exclusively on their religion. He has no issue with violence.

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Chief Monahan confirmed that none of the officers were wearing body cameras at the time of the incident.

On Thursday, Ruta Deshong, who owns a reggae record shop on the same block where Vassell lived, said she had known him since he was a young boy and that the police who normally patrol the neighborhood knew him well.

Community residents said Vassell was familiar on the corner, sometimes begging for money at a nearby subway station, or doing odd jobs and chores for shops around the area.

By state law, the attorney general is appointed as a special prosecutor to oversee investigations into and prosecute matters related to incidents in which unarmed civilians die during interactions with police or incidents in which there is significant question as to whether the civilian was armed and risky, Spitalnick said, citing the law.

The police shooting of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man, ignited protests in Sacramento, Calif., that have lasted weeks.

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