Tension flares in Brooklyn after police kill teenage boy

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 14, 2013 11:09 PM
Tension flares in Brooklyn after police kill teenage boy

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The mother of a teenage boy fatally shot by New York police called on Thursday for an end to violence and the rising tensions that have erupted between police and angry residents and resulted in dozens of arrests.

Kimani Gray, 16, was shot by two police officers late on Saturday in Brooklyn's East Flatbush neighborhood after police said he pointed a handgun at them. His family disputes that account, saying it was unlikely he was carrying a weapon. Police said a gun was found at the scene.

"I don't condone any riots, any looting, any shooting, anything against any police officers," said Carol Gray, the teenager's mother, at a news conference in Brooklyn.

"Two police officers shot down Kimani, and I only want justice for two police officers to be off the street before they hurt another young kid," she said tearfully.

According to the police account of the incident, Kimani Gray broke away from the group he was with on Saturday night after noticing the officers, who had been patrolling the area, which is predominantly black and one of the city's poorest neighborhoods, in an unmarked car.

Gray adjusted his waistband in what police said was a suspicious manner before pointing a .38-caliber revolver at them.

The officers fired at him, and he was shot seven times, according to a coroner's report, with three of the bullets entering him from behind. He was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.

Violence has marred gatherings in memory of the slain teen.

Near the scene of a candlelight vigil on Wednesday, police arrested 46 people, most on charges of disorderly conduct. One officer's face was cut when he was hit by a brick, and another officer suffered an injured hand, police said.

Earlier in the week, a group of young men and women ransacked an area pharmacy and assaulted a man, police said.

Carol Gray said she doubted her son, who she said was at a "Sweet 16" birthday party that night, was armed. She said he was too frightened of police to consider aiming a gun at them.

Gray was black, and Kenneth Montgomery, an attorney for Gray's family, said police treated black and Hispanic teenagers "in a manner that is paramilitary."

"It is a community that is under siege," the attorney said.

A police spokesman could not confirm reports that the officers who shot Gray were black and Latino.

Police are allowed to use deadly force if faced with a reasonable fear of death or serious injury. The two officers have been moved to administrative duty while the NYPD's internal affairs investigates the shooting, police said.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Peter Cooney)