Police located Vassell who then, according to Monahan, "took a two-handed shooting stance, and pointed an object at the approaching officers". According to witnesses the Times spoke to, Vassell had a habit of picking up objects off the street and playing with them as if they were toys.
The video released Thursday shows Saheed Vassell aggressively pointing an object at pedestrians that turned out to be an L-shaped piece of pipe.
"At this point, responding officers discharged their weapons", police said. It's nearly like they did a hit, Hinds said. "What they did, which is very common in all civil cases, is they sat in a room [.] and they do a cost-benefit analysis and say 'let's pay a little bit of money here" and get rid of it and they actually save themselves probably hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation costs", Bianchi said. Three of the officers were wearing street clothes, one of them was in a uniform and none of them had body cameras on them at the time, he went on. He said they had no information that the person they were confronting was mentally ill.
The police said officers "observed a man fitting the description the 911 caller provided and engaged the suspect".
"He hasn't taken his medication for years", he said.
Police in the area were familiar with Vassell, who had been classified as emotionally disturbed by police who'd encountered him before. Vassell was a black man, bringing the entire blurry catalog of implicit biases that infect all police interactions into play.
Years after the New York City Police Department targeted them for surveillance, New Jersey Muslims reached a long-awaited settlement Thursday that awards them thousands of dollars in damages and input toward reform efforts.
Excerpts from the transcripts of 911 calls released by the New York City Police Department show that several callers reported a man with a "gun".
Vassell's father, Eric Vassell, said his son had bipolar disorder and had been admitted to the hospital multiple times in recent years, sometimes after encounters with police.
The shooting in NY is the latest in a string of killings of unarmed African American men by police which has sparked fierce outrage from the public. Police around the country have struggled to incorporate psychological allowances into their training and policies for the use of force, and on-duty killings that make headlines often seem preventable but for the lack of widespread training in identifying and de-escalating a mental health crisis moment.
But witnesses to the shooting claim police never told Vassell to yield before bullets rained down on him. He was "a caring father who begged for money in a nearby subway station and did odd jobs for shopkeepers".
Another resident, John Fuller, reiterated that he was known by police to suffer from mental illness.
"A police department not acknowledging wrongdoing is akin to a congressman's 'no comment, ' " Farhaj Hassan, the lead plaintiff and a sergeant in the US Army Reserves, told reporters Thursday.
Photo People gathered near the corner of Montgomery Street and Utica Avenue, where a man was fatally shot by plainclothes officers.