Wednesday, May 2018, at Utica Avenue and Montgomery Street, Brooklyn, there was a rally to demand justice for Saheed Vassell—release of names, misconduct history and full video footage of NYPD officers who killed him.
Wednesday, April 4, the NYPD killed Vassell on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Vassell was gunned down in broad daylight, in a hail of at least 10 bullets. Four officers on the scene reportedly shot at Vassell. Vassell was well-known in his Crown Heights neighborhood, and he is survived by his parents, Eric and Lorna, four brothers, five sisters, a son Tyshawn, a large extended family and many friends.
“It’s unconscionable that a month after NYPD officers murdered our son Saheed, Mayor de Blasio is still refusing to provide basic transparency that can help ensure accountability for his killing,” said Vassell’s parents in a statement. “These are not the actions of a city government committed to the truth —instead it seems like public officials and the NYPD trying to hide something. We need Mayor de Blasio to demonstrate leadership by ending the NYPD’s propaganda campaign that has sought to justify the killing of Saheed and that we believe has misled the public with one-sided information. Many questions have been raised about the city’s release of selective, edited and inappropriate information, including by witnesses to the murder who have claimed that Saheed had nothing in his hands when shot and that officers appeared to hop out of their cars and immediately start shooting. Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD must release the names, misconduct histories and full video footage of the officers involved in killing our son.”
Witnesses to Vassell’s killing have said officers fired at him immediately on arriving on the scene and without warning, similar to how police officers in Cleveland killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, and that there was nothing in his hands. Vassell’s killing is at least the fourth questionable NYPD killing of a Black or Latinx New Yorker in the past nine months. Dwayne Jeune, Miguel Richards and Mario Sanabria are the others. He is also at least the 17th Black or Latinx New Yorker unjustly or questionably killed by the NYPD during the past four years of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration.