Police Shoot and Kill a Man in Brooklyn

The victim's father, Eric Vassell, told the New York Times that that his son had bipolar disorder and had been admitted to hospitals several times in recent years.

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

The suspect then "took a two-handed shooting stance" and pointed an object at five responding officers - three of whom were in plain clothes, and two of whom were in uniform - the chief said, holding up a blurry still image of the suspect in that position, pulled from surveillance cameras nearby.

The video released Thursday shows Saheed Vassell aggressively pointing an object at pedestrians that turned out to be an L-shaped piece of pipe.

"You can not be a cop and all you should think about is your life, you know, you will lose your life so let me take a life to save my life", Eric Vassell told WABC.

Still, there are some tough questions surrounding this case, specifically about how neatly it fits into the narrative of other controversial fatal police shootings of black men and the role of community policing in incidents just like this one. "I seen the police auto (come) in, police jump out and pop, pop, pop, pop", one witness said.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said in a news conference Thursday that the killing was "a tragedy by any measure".

"He's mentally ill but don't mess with anybody", resident O'Neil Headley said. In a statement Thursday, a spokesperson said the Attorney General's Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit "has opened an investigation into the death of Saheed Vassell".

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"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.

The release of the edited material - the full videos and transcripts weren't immediately provided - was meant to back up claims by the police department that the four plainclothes and two uniformed officers who responded had a legitimate reason to believe they needed to move swiftly to stop a deadly threat.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (SHNEYE'-dur-muhn) is investigating the death of a Brooklyn man shot by officers who mistook a metal pipe for a gun.

Vassell was said to be originally from Jamaica, and is survived by his 15-year-old son named Tyshawn. He frequented local fruit stands and businesses in the Crown Heights neighborhood and lived within two blocks of where he was gunned down.

Jaccbot Hinds, who was one of the witnesses at the time of shooting, said officers jumped out of their unmarked police auto and fired at Vassell without warning.

However, Mr de Blasio and police officials said that officers had to make a quick decision and were unaware of Mr Vassell's history of mental illness.

The shooting came less than three weeks after police in the city of Sacramento fired 20 rounds at 22-year-old Stephon Clark, fearing he was carrying a weapon. "We have to stay straight to the facts of this incident today".

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.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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