Before a mentally ill black man allegedly pointed a metal pipe at police and was fatally shot earlier this week by four New York Police Department officers in Brooklyn, one person called the police to report he spotted a man with a gun.
According to the transcripts, one caller to 911 reported that Vassell "looks like he's insane but he's pointing something at people that looks like a gun".
The police said officers "observed a man fitting the description the 911 caller provided and engaged the suspect". It seems like a gun.
The shooting, at the corner of Montgomery Street and Utica Avenue in Crown Heights Brooklyn, provoked an angry response from residents on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Activists like Linda Sarsour and politicians such as state Senator Jesse Hamilton spoke as the crowd called for justice, accountability, and the firing of every officer involved in the killing of the 34-year-old man. Protestors also heard from from Lorna Vassell, Vassell's mother. Callers to 911 said the man was waving a gun at people on the street, but neighborhood residents say it was well-known Saheed Vassell suffered from mental illness.
"It's a tragedy because a man with a profound mental health problem ... was doing something that people perceived to be a threat to the safety of others", de Blasio said at a news conference shortly before the images and a partial transcript of 911 calls were released.
The video clips show Vassell thrusting an object that looks like a gun into the faces of several people, including a woman holding the hand of a child.
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Another caller says, "Oh my God!" and screams. Some said he was well known to the police who patrolled the area and they should have been familiar with him.
"We're committed to conducting an independent, comprehensive and fair investigation", Schneiderman said in a tweet Thursday.
NY police shot dead an African American man in Brooklyn on Wednesday after mistaking a piece of pipe he was holding for a gun. "He doesn't have access to guns, because he's been sick for a long time", Eric Vassell said.
Vassell said he saw his son, 35-year-old Saheed Vassell, just hours before he was shot by police two blocks from their home Wednesday afternoon.
"The officers from the neighbourhood, they know him". He was unsure why Saheed was holding a pipe, but he told WABC that his son sometimes worked as a welder. They should not have lost their lives. They should not train them to kill. "Everybody's got their First Amendment rights, and they can contribute to the candidate of their choice", said O'Neill, though he added, "The Special Victims Division is unique, and investigators have to maintain the confidence of the survivors of sexual assault".
The death of Saheed Vassell on Wednesday was the latest fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by police, fueling more protests and heightening a nationwide debate over the use of excessive force by police and accusations of racial bias in the criminal justice system.