Saheed Vassell, a 34-year-old African-American, was shot dead by New York police on Wednesday. According to news media from Le Figaro, this man who was presented with mental disorders would have taken “a shooting posture” by pointing a metal tube to a police patrol.
Police officers were reportedly approaching the young man when the latter pointed a metal tube the size of a handgun in their direction, taking a “shooting posture”. Uniformed police officers and three in civilian clothes opened fire, firing ten shots at the man, which then had fatally wounded.
Dozens of people gathered at the scene in a face-to-face protest with the police officers. Saheed Vassell was known for his mental disorders, but not for acts of violence.
The New York Daily News reports that the man was of Jamaican origin. He was a welder, and the father of a teenager Eric Vassell, the victim’s father, told the newspaper that his son was suffering from bipolar disorder but was refusing to treat himself. “He has not been taking medication for years,” he said.
The shooting provoked intense tension in the neighbourhood, where dozens of people came to protest against what they see as a new police blunder with regard to a black man.
The NYPD head department, during a press briefing, showed an image of a surveillance camera where the silhouette of the suspect in the firing position is guessed. But some source indicates that the police did not send a summons to the suspect before shooting.
“They came out of the car. (…) They did not say put their hands up, nothing at all,” says a witness at the New York Daily News. Though Information not yet confirmed by the NYPD.