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Won’t back down: Protestors return to site where cops killed black man holding pipe to demand transparency from city

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Mayor DeBlasio must release the names and service records of the cops who gunned down a black man with a reported history of mental illness whom they mistook as armed with a gun, along with full footage of the incident, demanded the man’s mother and other protesters amid a rally at the scene of the April shooting.

“It’s unconscionable that a month after NYPD officers murdered our son, Mayor DeBlasio is still refusing to provide basic transparency that can help ensure accountability for his killing,” Lorna Vassell said at the May 2 demonstration, roughly one month after police shot her son dead on April 4. “These are not the actions of a city government committed to the truth – instead it seems like public officials and the NYPD trying to hide something.”

The crowd gathered at Utica Avenue and Montgomery Street, where four officers fired 10 shots at the 34-year-old Vassell when responding to 911 calls from passersby who reported the man brandished what appeared to be a pistol — but cops later discovered to be a metal pipe — at pedestrians.

The next day, after the New York State attorney general opened an investigation into the shooting, authorities released edited transcripts of the 911 calls along with clips of surveillance videos that showed Vassell, who his father said was bipolar, pointing the pipe like a gun at bystanders.

But the Police Department has yet to share unedited footage and transcripts, according to another protestor, who argued the material that has been revealed should be considered nothing but propaganda until it is shared in its entirety.

“This is classic victim blaming,” said Anthonine Pierre, the director of a Bedford-Stuyvesant–based group of community organizers, the Brooklyn Movement Center. “What we know is four officers came out of nowhere and started firing, we need to see what actually happened and the public needs a sense of what actually went on.”

A Police Department spokeswoman, however, claimed protocol prevents officials from identifying officers involved in shootings, and that authorities shared all appropriate footage and transcripts related to the ongoing matter.

“The NYPD released all relevant video and transcripts of the three 911 calls, said Detective Sophia Mason. “An investigation remains underway and more information will be released when and if it is appropriate.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:45 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Junior from Bedstuy says:
Was I the only one that saw that man treating a lot of people acting as he was going to shoot them. I mean your protesting for that........REALLY
May 7, 8 am
Joshua from Upper Eastside says:
I find it sad that a man who aggressively pretended to shoot people, some with children, is being used as a pawn to instigate race tensions. The failures come from the parents and people who were responsible for this man's safety. Its interesting that they are present now in the situation but was free to roam around putting himself in danger. It is disrespectful to his life to agitate race relations when this was a sad situation where the police really aren't to blame. IF they hesitated and it was a gun and someone innocent died from their hesitation you would want to blame them for that as well. Wake up people. You are embarrassing yourselves.
May 7, 8:10 am
Old time Brooklyn from Slope says:
This article should have laugh track
May 7, 8:28 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
The NYPD are a dangerous gang and thugs.
May 7, 10:44 am
Joe Bloe from Bensonhurst says:
The police responded to a threat, and did their job well. They eliminated the threat.
May 7, 11:09 am
Leah from Park Slope says:
Mother has a big mouth now - but why wasn’t she helping her crazy son when he was alive? She just thinks she can get money out of this, and that’s sad.
May 7, 1:28 pm
Homey from Crooklyn says:
Yeah they're pulling the usual ghetto rat thing
May 8, 1:21 pm

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