Officers responded to 911 calls reporting a man wearing a brown leather jacket.
The man took a two-handed shooting stance and pointed an object at police in the city's Brooklyn borough, and three plainclothes officers and one uniformed officer shot 10 times, Chief of Department Terence Monahan told a news conference. When police arrived, Vassell took a "two-handed shooting stance" and pointed the pipe attached to a knob at them. He was transported to Kings County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. When officers found him, he turned toward the police.
The shooting in NY is the latest in a string of killings of unarmed African American men by police which has sparked fierce outrage from the public.
Attorneys and plaintiffs involved in the latest settlement said Thursday that the agreement builds on previous ones by ensuring public and plaintiffs' input into the Intelligence Bureau's policies and training materials, extending the guidelines established by the previous settlement to cover the residents of New Jersey and awarding monetary damages to some of those targeted by the surveillance program.
"All he did was just walk around the neighborhood", said Andre Wilson.
Monahan held up an image of the scene captured seconds before the officers approached Vassell, and said surveillance video along the street corroborated the officers' account of what happened.
The mayor said police would disclose the contents of 911 calls and any video of the incident. The mayor also acknowledged Vassell had a "mental health problem", but added that 911 dispatchers were not told this information when the calls came in.
Under a 2015 executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the attorney general has the authority to investigate the deaths of unarmed civilians in interactions with law enforcement.
"If that's what officers were responding to in real time, we've got to recognize that if they believe they are dealing with an immediate matter of life and death to the people in the surrounding area, that's an exceedingly hard, tense, split-second decision that has to be made", he said.
"That's quite powerful and will have lasting effects on how the NYPD polices in the future", he said.
The pipe a man was allegeldy holding and pointing at officers before being shot to death on Wednesday, April 4.
"We know him around here", he said.
"I saw him bring it in from the street", said Simone, who cleared Vassell's junk from the roof Wednesday and put it in a clear garbage bag, leaving it on an adjacent rooftop.
Four officers fired around 10 rounds between them at the man, hitting him.
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