Metal object in fatal Brooklyn police shooting was a welding torch

Protesters march towards the New York Police Department's 71st Precinct on Empire Boulevard to protest Wednesday's fatal police shooting of Saheed Vassell, a 34-year-old father of a teenage son, Thursday, April 5, 2018, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

NEW YORK (AP) 04/06 — Witnesses who called New York City police to report that a man was menacing people with a gun before police killed him were terrified but also uncertain whether the object the man had really was a gun, 911 transcripts released Friday show.

One caller Wednesday said, “He’s pointing a silver thing in a lady’s face.”

When the dispatcher asked if it was a gun, the caller said, “I don’t know if it’s a gun, ma’am. It seems like a gun. It’s silver.”

This photo provided by the New York Police Department shows a metal object at the scene where police officers fatally shot a man who was reported to be threatening people with a gun, which turned out to be a metal pipe that police mistook for a firearm, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Saheed Vassell, 34, was killed Wednesday April 5, 2018, in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. According to The New York Times, police had encountered him before and classified him as emotionally disturbed. (New York Police Department via AP)

 

Police said the metal object Saheed Vassell was pointing at people was actually the head of a welding torch.

Officers responding to the 911 calls fired 10 shots at the 34-year-old Vassell, killing him.

The shooting sparked two nights of protests by people who said police should have known Vassell suffered from mental illness.

Hundreds rally for a march to the 71st Precinct on Empire Boulevard to protest Wednesday’s fatal police shooting of Saheed Vassell, a 34-year-old father of a teenage son, Thursday, April 5, 2018, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

 

The police department has released surveillance videos and 911 transcripts to back up the department’s position that the officers who responded to the 911 calls had reason to believe Vassell posed a deadly threat.

The video clips show Vassell thrusting an object that looks like a gun into the faces of several people, including a woman holding the hand of a child.

In one of the three 911 calls released Friday, the caller says, “He looks like he is crazy, but he’s pointing something at people that looks like a gun and he’s like popping it like he’s pulling the trigger.”

Another caller says, “Oh my God!” and screams.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said his office will investigate Vassell’s death.

https://www.apnews.com/b130bdced35e4cf98c32085688929da2/Metal-object-in-fatal-police-shooting-was-a-welding-torch

https://www.apnews.com/b130bdced35e4cf98c32085688929da2/Metal-object-in-fatal-police-shooting-was-a-welding-torch

Posted in: Attacks on Police, Black Lives Matter, Civilian Complaints, Community Relations, Crime Prevention, Excessive Force, Firearms, Mental Illness, Officer Safety, Police, Protests/Civil Unrest, Public Safety, Racial Issues, Shootings, Use of Deadly Force

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