Family members and other supporters of recent NYPD terrorism victim Shantel Davis convened on the corner of East 38th Street and Church Avenue in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, last Friday evening in a disciplined memorial service to demand justice for her murder.
Six months after her family says she was brutally gunned down by Detective Philip Atkins, mourners held a candlelight vigil in Davis’ memory on the very same street the unarmed 23-year-old’s life was taken back on June 14.
“More than 70 community members attended the candlelight vigil, including New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams and the Rev. Kirsten Foy of the National Action Network,” said Shantel’s sister Natasha. Along with their sister, Crystal, as well as other relatives, childhood friends and neighbors, they drew attention to what they called Shantel Davis’ senseless murder as they continue their fight for justice.
Amongst the demonstrators was the mother of another Black youth slain by New York’s finest this past February, Ramarley Graham. Constance Malcolm found some semblance of solace in supporting another grief-stricken family who can relate to her anguish and loss, as she touched on what is determined by some as “the police terrorism” that is taking young Black people’s lives away.
Adam Stevens of the Progressive Labor Party and Gina Santori of the Internationalist Socialist Organization–both members of the Shantel Davis Committee for Justice and Beyond–also addressed those in attendance.
Davis is the 212th civilian killed by the NYPD since Amadou Diallo’s Feb. 4, 1999, murder in the Bronx. Her supporters say they will continue to stand against racist injustice so that, hopefully, in the future, the violence will be averted, and that the victims of police terror can rest in peace.
“She should still be alive today … there’s no reason she should have been killed,” determined activist and Council Member Charles Barron. “We have to continue to be vigilant, and we have to be steadfast in getting justice for the Davis family. Any time police can unjustifiably take our lives with impunity, you know there’s something fundamentally wrong with this system. I rededicate my commitment to justice for Sister Davis.”
At the end of the vigil, 23 lit candles were placed on the sidewalk in Shantel Davis’ memory, one for each of her youthful years of physical life, and 23 balloons were also let go into the night.