Hostility has been mounting this week in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, after two plainclothes police officers fatally shot 16-year-old Kimani grey after he allegedly pointed a revolver at them on Saturday night.On Monday a group of about 130 people were marching toward the 67th Police Precinct station when about two dozen young protesters splintered off — drawing riot police — and trashed a Rite Aid.
The night began with hope that grey’s mother would speak at a vigil alongside mothers of local shooting victims, but the night turned when about 30 young men showed up in the shadows across the street.
“They were staying in the dark area of the street,” a witness told CNN. “You just knew it was going to turn into the cops trying to contain those kids who were obviously gonna go for it. That just stopped the original intention of the night.”
The witness said the teenagers suddenly took off, fanning through streets and side streets, followed by the sound of glass breaking and metal store-front gates being pulled down. Protesters began throwing bricks and bottles while cops began pepper-spraying and arresting.
By the end an officer’s face and the window of a police van had been hit with bricks, and 46 people had been arrested.
The string of incidents has amplified the distrustful friction between the neighbourhood’s informal crews of armed teenagers and its aggressive police, whom residents say make prejudiced decisions based on race.
Kenneth J. Montgomery, an attorney for the grey family, told the LA Times that the police “patrol these neighborhoods like they’re paramilitary.”
“[The police] have a hard time because there’s a lot of crime in the neighbourhood,” a local barber told The New York Times. “But when they play hardball, they end up going after innocent people, too.”
After he “adjusted his waistband and continued to act in a suspicious manner,” officials say the cops got out of their car and approached grey — who allegedly turned toward them with a loaded .38-calibre revolver in hand.
The 30-year-old sergeant and 26-year-old fired 11 shots — the autopsy showed that seven bullets entered grey’s body, three of them from the rear.
Police commissioner Raymond Kelly told the New York Times there was “nothing to indicate that this shooting was outside the guidelines” while John C. Cerar, the former commander for firearms training at the Police Department, said “it appears to be a good shooting” under the reported circumstances.
Photo: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
That statement doesn’t pacify neighbourhood residents, who question the official story and perceive the officers’ behaviour as part of a larger trend of NYPD antagonism.”We’re talking about a powder keg out here. Any incident could trigger it,” City Councilman Charles Barron told the LA Times.
On Wednesday tensions “seemed to be decreasing until Mahnefah grey, sister of the teen killed by police, was arrested while crossing the street,” according to Danny Gold of Metropolis.
Here’s a taste of Wednesday night:
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