Witness backs NYPD officers who killed ‘menacing’ bipolar man - MRCAESAR.COM


Sunday, 8 April 2018

Witness backs NYPD officers who killed ‘menacing’ bipolar man

“He was pointing that silver thing at people,” a witness said of Saheed Vassell (r.). (NYPD/OBTAINED BY NY DAILY NEWS)
A witness who dialed 911 before the fatal NYPD shooting of a mentally ill Crown Heights man says police had no option but to open fire.
“This dude gave every probable cause to shoot him,” the woman told the Daily News. “I’m an African-American. This was not someone walking away and being shot.
“It was not someone who was selling CDs and got shot. It was not one of those. He was menacing people with a gun.”
As it turned out, 34-year-old Saheed Vassell was using a silver piece of a soldering torch to frighten pedestrians Wednesday afternoon in his Brooklyn neighborhood.
The 911 caller, who spoke to The News on condition of anonymity, said everything she saw from close range convinced her Vassell was really armed — and very threatening.
“He was pointing that silver thing at people,” the woman recalled. “He was holding it like a gun. Not a baton, not a pipe — a gun.
“He was pointing at their faces and their heads like he was going to shoot them.”
But Vassell’s father criticized the NYPD for failing to be fully transparent in the wake of his son’s killing.
“There’s no videotape to show the actions of the police,” Eric Vassell said Saturday.
Saheed Vassell terrified several pedestrians before police killed him in Brooklyn.
“If they cannot show these pictures, they should be charged with murder.”
The witness said she had stopped in Crown Heights around 4:40 p.m. after picking up her 11-year-old daughter at school. The girl and a friend ran to a local take-out joint to buy some food as the mom parked across the street.
She first spied Vassell as the bipolar Brooklynite paced rapidly along the sidewalk, pointing the silver tube at various people at close range as he stomped past.
Video released by the NYPD showed Vassell pointing the gun-shaped object at a seven people, including a small child.
One man raised his hands in surrender before Vassell walked away, headed toward his fatal run-in with police.
The 911 caller recalled the slain man marching up to a random young man — who then collapsed. She was certain the youth had just been shot.
“I was looking for his blood, until he got up and ran,” the woman told The News. “I was expecting the gun to go off. It was only a matter of time before (Vassell) shot somebody.”
She ducked down inside her car and dialed 911 to report a man with a gun once Vassell started walking toward her parked vehicle.
Front page of the New York Daily News on Thursday, April 5, 2018.(NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
“He was acting crazy,” the woman recounted. “I don’t think it was an overreaction.”
In her call to 911, the woman was heard urging her daughter to hit the ground once the police started shooting.
“Lay down, lay down baby,” she said.
Hers was one of three calls made to 911 by witnesses, all reporting a man with a gun terrorizing the neighborhood.
The woman told The News she didn’t recognize Vassell, though she knew the look on his face.
“I told the (dispatcher) he was crazy,” she said. “It was just the way he was acting.”
The woman said her child was badly shaken by what happened on the corner.
“She jumps out of her sleep,” the mom said. “She sleeps in a fetal position, and she hasn’t done that since she was a baby.”
'; (function() { var dsq = document.createElement('script'); dsq.type = 'text/javascript'; dsq.async = true; dsq.src = '//' + disqus_shortname + '.disqus.com/embed.js'; (document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0] || document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0]).appendChild(dsq); })();