The Crown Heights community is demanding answers after a police involved shooting left a 34-year-old man dead.
"I want people to know that the police need to stop shooting people without a cause. The man was sick. He was not normal. He had no gun. They did not see any gun on him. I doubt that's what they were trained to do. They need to stop. They cannot be killing our innocent black people every time. It's ridiculous and someone needs to put a stop to it," one woman told WOR's Alice Stockton-Rossini.
A vigil was held on Thursday night to honor Saheed Vassell, who was shot and killed by officers on Wednesday. Residents said he had a mental illness.
“They murdered my son and I want justice for him," Vassell's mother said.
The NYPD released surveillance video of the incident on Thursday, which shows Vassell running around the streets and pointing a pipe at several people. The department also released transcripts of calls made to 911, where people believed Vassell had a gun.
“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? They say it’s a gun, it’s silver,” one 911 caller said.
Vassell was shot by officers after taking a shooting stance and pointing the pipe towards officers.
"People in the community thought he had a weapon and was aiming it at residents. That's the kind of call, multiple calls, the NYPD received,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Hundreds of people rallied on Thursday night calling for justice. They claim that Vassell was harmless.
"I saw him at one of my friend's house and he was a nice guy. He wasn't trying to hurt nobody," one boy said.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating.
“My office’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit has opened an investigation into the death of Saheed Vassell. We’re committed to conducting an independent, comprehensive, and fair investigation,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
Photo Credit: Alice Stockton-Rossini