I am deeply sorry that Saheed Vassell was shot and killed by the NYPD. It is a tragedy. But, those pretending the police were unjustified are simply lying to everyone, especially themselves
Pretty cut and dry. Even Mayor Bill de Blassio is defending the police
On Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the actions of the officers, said that the city would be as transparent as possible in this situation, and even hypothesized as to what might have happened if Vassell had actually been carrying a gun.
“Let’s play out the scenario had it been different,” de Blasio said. “If this individual with a loaded weapon, who for whatever reason, including a mental health challenge, was ready to use it, that’s a split-second matter of trying to save lives right then and there.
“How you get the full facts of what the person has in their hand, and what their mental health condition might be, and are they known to anyone, in something that’s playing out in seconds and minutes, that’s a very tall order,” he continued.
Again this is sad, but the police did their jobs. Even the NY Times sees that
He strode up and down a busy Brooklyn street on Wednesday, lunging at passers-by — someone pushing a cart, someone holding a young child’s hand — with a curved silver pipe resting on his fingers like the barrel of a gun.
Neighbors and police officers knew the man, Saheed Vassell, as the broom handler for a local barbershop, an idiosyncratic fixture on the block who was mentally ill and liked to drink outside. Patrol officers chatted with him and sometimes bought him Jamaican food. They had taken him to the hospital to be treated for mental illness a number of times in recent years.
But the plainclothes anti-crime officers who answered a smartphone alert for someone waving a silver gun on Wednesday didn’t know him at all, the police said. Given nothing more than what 911 callers told a dispatcher — that a black man with a brown jacket and bluejeans was pointing at people with something that looked like a gun — they screeched to a stop at the corner where Mr. Vassell spent most days and, after he crouched and aimed the pipe at them, almost instantly shot and killed him.
Police officials argued it hardly mattered which officers answered the call or what training they had. Any officers facing what appeared to be a gun aimed at them would have little choice but to fire, these officials said. Security camera videos from nearby businesses showed Mr. Vassell, 34, just moments before his death, startling people on the street and jabbing the pipe into one man’s chest.
The comments on some of the stories about this are stunning. Several folks are saying the police should only be able to return fire, an idea that is as foolish as it can be. It is sad, depressing actually, that some people will blame the police no matter what. Rational thoughts? No, emotional responses, based on false narratives.