A video obtained by the Village Voice shows the chaotic aftermath in Crown Heights after four police officers shot and killed 34-year-old Saheed Vassell on Wednesday. In the video, a response team tends to a fallen Vassell while police officers are frantically trying to clear the scene of various shocked onlookers and passing cars.
Police say they were responding to three 911 calls about a man who appeared to be carrying a weapon, possibly a gun, near the intersection of Montgomery Street and Utica Avenue. When police arrived at the scene, they encountered Vassell, who was in a “two-handed shooting stance,” while holding a silver object in his hands. Police officers then fired 10 shots at Vassell, who was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to Kings County Hospital. Police say the object turned out to be a pipe from a welding torch.
Area residents have accused the police of using excessive force against a man who was known to be bipolar. On Thursday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the state’s Special Investigations and Prosecution Unit was investigating the incident.
Area residents held a march and rally on Thursday night in memory of Vessell.