Anger over the death of a Brooklyn teenager shot and killed by police fueled a riot on the streets of East Flatbush Monday — projectiles were hurled at cops, car windows were smashed and a pharmacy customer had a bottle bashed over his head.
The scenes of violence on blocks near the NYPD’s 67th Precinct stationhouse followed a protest march that grew out of a candlelight vigil for Kimani (Kiki) Gray, 16, killed by police bullets on Saturday.
In the aftermath of the riot, as police were trying to secure the area and assess damage to stores along streets strewn with broken glass, City Councilman Jumaane Williams called for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg to visit the community.
“There’s a lot of anger here,” said Williams, whose district includes the riot zone. “This isn’t just from one particular shooting. A whole community has not been heard for far too long.”
Kelly visited the precinct stationhouse about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday — more than four hours after the chaos began — but did not speak to reporters.
The details of the shooting are murky. The NYPD says the teen pulled a gun on two plainclothes cops as they approached him for suspiciously fixing his wasteband.
The police fired 11 rounds at Gray, striking him several times and killing him.
The NY Times reports the following:
A woman who lives across the street from the shooting scene said that after the shots were fired, she saw two men, whom she believed to be plainclothes officers, standing over Mr. Gray, who was prone on the sidewalk, clutching his stomach.“He said, ‘Please don’t let me die,’ ” said the woman, 46, who gave her name only as Vanessa. One of the officers, she said, replied: “Stay down, or we’ll shoot you again.”
No wonder Commissioner Kelly didn't want to answer any questions from the press.
As Gray is dying on the street, the cops tell him to stay down or they'll shoot him again.
Maybe this kid did have a gun.
Maybe he did point it at the plainclothesmen.
There's no excuse for either of those things.
But remember, these cops didn't look like cops.
They looked like two guys approaching a group of men at night.
And there's always the possibility in Mayor Bloomberg's New York that this kid didn't have a gun at all until the cops planted it on him after they shot at him 11 times.
Add this fatal shooting to all the other fatal shootings of men of color (including one other shooting over the weekend) in this city by the NYPD and you can see where the anger is coming from.
I must say, I have been surprised that community anger at the NYPD hasn't erupted into violence before this.
There have been so many senseless shootings, so many deaths.
The mourners for Kimani Gray say they will return tonight for another vigil.
Hopefully that doesn't end in violence.
But I get the anger at Bloomberg, Kelly and the NYPD over these shootings.
And I think that ought to be demonstrated by people across this city.