Tension flares in Brooklyn after police kill teenage boy

NEW YORK Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:09pm EDT

Carol Gray (centre L) shows a photograph of her late son Kimani Gray, who was killed in a New York Police Department shooting, next to City Councilman Charles Barron (centre R) and her lawyer Kenneth Montgomery (L) during a news conference in the Brooklyn borough of New York, March 14, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Carol Gray (centre L) shows a photograph of her late son Kimani Gray, who was killed in a New York Police Department shooting, next to City Councilman Charles Barron (centre R) and her lawyer Kenneth Montgomery (L) during a news conference in the Brooklyn borough of New York, March 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Related Topics

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The mother of a teenage boy fatally shot by New York police called on Thursday for an end to violence and the rising tensions that have erupted between police and angry residents and resulted in dozens of arrests.

Kimani Gray, 16, was shot by two police officers late on Saturday in Brooklyn's East Flatbush neighborhood after police said he pointed a handgun at them. His family disputes that account, saying it was unlikely he was carrying a weapon. Police said a gun was found at the scene.

"I don't condone any riots, any looting, any shooting, anything against any police officers," said Carol Gray, the teenager's mother, at a news conference in Brooklyn.

"Two police officers shot down Kimani, and I only want justice for two police officers to be off the street before they hurt another young kid," she said tearfully.

According to the police account of the incident, Kimani Gray broke away from the group he was with on Saturday night after noticing the officers, who had been patrolling the area, which is predominantly black and one of the city's poorest neighborhoods, in an unmarked car.

Gray adjusted his waistband in what police said was a suspicious manner before pointing a .38-caliber revolver at them.

The officers fired at him, and he was shot seven times, according to a coroner's report, with three of the bullets entering him from behind. He was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.

Violence has marred gatherings in memory of the slain teen.

Near the scene of a candlelight vigil on Wednesday, police arrested 46 people, most on charges of disorderly conduct. One officer's face was cut when he was hit by a brick, and another officer suffered an injured hand, police said.

Earlier in the week, a group of young men and women ransacked an area pharmacy and assaulted a man, police said.

Carol Gray said she doubted her son, who she said was at a "Sweet 16" birthday party that night, was armed. She said he was too frightened of police to consider aiming a gun at them.

Gray was black, and Kenneth Montgomery, an attorney for Gray's family, said police treated black and Hispanic teenagers "in a manner that is paramilitary."

"It is a community that is under siege," the attorney said.

A police spokesman could not confirm reports that the officers who shot Gray were black and Latino.

Police are allowed to use deadly force if faced with a reasonable fear of death or serious injury. The two officers have been moved to administrative duty while the NYPD's internal affairs investigates the shooting, police said.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Peter Cooney)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (6)
WillHolder wrote:
Bad parenting can often result in poorly behaved children and the cycle is then perpetuated.
The black community must stop making excuses and offer better guidance to their young. Until they can accept responsibility and take steps to change what appears to be a black culture in decline – all our legislative efforts and focus on political correctness won’t make a difference.

Mar 14, 2013 11:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AGGNews wrote:
This is another example of unnecessary gun violence. Why were the officers armed? If NYC would lead the progress against gun violence in any serious manner, they would finally put an end to the ridiculous practice of policeman carrying weapons designed only to kill. There was no legitimate hunting or sporting use for those officers to have military-style automatic pistols, and now we have another dead kid as a result.

Mar 15, 2013 10:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
The fact that our nation’s police have become domestic terrorists should be enough to concern and alarm every single one of us. It doesn’t matter if the officers who murdered this boy (and I would call it murder when someone is shot in the back) are black and latino – domestic terrorists, aka police officers, come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.

Police are taught to work themselves up into a hyper-aroused state – much like sharks in a “feeding frenzy” in an effort to intimidate their “targets”. Hence, when police are in this hyper-aroused state, they are not “of sound mind” and instead are prone to bad decision-making and “mob mentality”.

I’ve no doubt this kid was not armed. My guess is that he got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps he only went to pull his pants up – since most youth wear their pants baggy and below their butt crack – and police, in their hyper-aroused, mob mentality state, shot first and asked no questions. When they realized they shot an unarmed kid in the back, they planted a gun on him – something I’ve learned many cops carry is an “untraceable” gun. As my friend in law enforcement has told me repeatedly, cops will always stick together and will always cover up when they mess up badly.

Why? My theory is that the job itself attracts control freaks, bullies and abusers – because being a police officer gives them a “legitimate” power outlet for their abuse. Once on the force, their actions are usually covered up and covered over by their fellow cops and higher ups, who naturally don’t want untoward attention on their departments. And so on it goes.

I think “rogue” cops have become the norm and we probably, in all reality, have much more to fear from our local police depts than we do from any other terrorist group in the country. I’m thinking we need a complete overhaul of our nation’s police depts – perhaps we should privatize them? If they were a private company providing security, perhaps we wouldn’t see these kinds of senseless murders by police officers, with families helpless to do anything about them.

Mar 15, 2013 10:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.