POLICE KILLED UNARMED 22-YEAR-OLD, MISTAKING A STEEL PIPE FOR A GUNDate: 2018-04-05
New York police shot dead an African American man in Brooklyn on Wednesday after mistaking a pipe he was holding, for a gun.
Following a similar incident that sparked protests in Sacramento, which came on the 50th anniversary of civil rights icon Martin Luther KingJr's assassination, this shooting is the latest in a string of killings by police and has sparked a nationwide debate on violence by law enforcement.
The shooting occurred shortly after 5pm in Crown Heights, a predominantly black neighbourhood in the heart of Brooklyn. Officers responded after receiving three 911 emergency calls saying a man was pointing an "object that appears to be a gun" at people on the streets, said Terence Monahan, Chief of Department for the New York police.
When police officers approached the man, he "took a two-handed shooting stance and pointed an object at the approaching officers," Monahan said.
Four officers fired 10 shots at the man, who was pronounced dead at a hospital. The object the man was holding was not a gun, it was, in fact, a "pipe with some sort of knob at the end of it," added Monahan.
Shortly after the shooting, dozens of people gathered the scene, with many shouting and denouncing the conduct of the police, according to footage broadcast live on Facebook.
According to media reports, the victim of the shooting was known in the neighbourhood and was mentally ill but not violent.
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.