Cops say they fired on a man in Crown Heights because they mistook a metal pipe for a firearm.


NYPD Releases Full Video Compilation, Complete Transcript Of 911 Calls In Fatal Crown Heights Shooting

April 06, 2018 - 5:00 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) -- As questions increase and tensions rise over the fatal police shooting Wednesday of a man in Brooklyn, the NYPD releases a full video compilation of the moments before the shooting.

Police have also released complete transcripts of three 911 calls.

Saheed Vassell was shot and killed Wednesday after officers said he took a stance and pointed what they believed to be a gun at them.

In the video, there are three separate scenes that show a man in a brown jacket -- later identified as Vassell -- walking up to random people -- including a woman holding the hand of her child -- with a metal object in his hand, and pointing it at them in the way one would with a gun. In another incident, the man walks up and shoves the item at someone’s chest. The video also included transcripts of 911 calls police said they received about the man, interspliced with the surveillance video scenes.

“There is a guy in a brown jacket walking around pointing – I don’t know, (to someone else) what is he pointing in people’s face?” one caller is quoted. “They say it’s a gun. It’s silver.”

“There’s a guy walking around the street. He looks like he’s crazy, but he’s pointing something at people that looks like a gun and he’s popping it as if like if he’s pulling the trigger,” another says.

Other callers definitively say Vassell was carrying a gun.

The video also shows the last few seconds leading up to the confrontation with police.

Vassell walks around a parked car, suddenly turns 90 degrees, and then puts both off his hands on the metal object -- pointing it in the direction of the officers in a stance that looks to be a shooting stance.

NYPD Chief of Department Terry Monahan told reporters Wednesday evening that three different people called 911, saying a man had been pointing a gun at people on the street. When police responded to the scene, the suspect took a two-handed shooting stance and pointed the object at two officers, one of whom was in uniform, Monahan said.

The shooting prompted two nights of protests among many who felt police should have known that Vassell, a fixture in the Crown Heights neighborhood, had emotional problems.
But Mayor Bill De Blasio didn't lay blame on the officers, who were not from the local precinct and were passing through at the time. He said they had no information that the person they were confronting was mentally ill.
"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.At a vigil Thursday night, Vassell's mother, Lorna, said her son "came from a good home.''
"Police had a choice. They always have a choice. They should not train them to kill. They should train them to protect life, to save life,'' Eric Vassell said.