The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 77/No. 12      April 1, 2013

(front page)
Cop killing of Brooklyn youth
sparks protests and outrage

AP Photo/John Minchillo
March 14 protest in Brooklyn, N.Y., against police killing of 16-year-old Kimani Gray.
NEW YORK—Vigils and other demonstrations took place for at least six days after the March 9 killing of 16-year-old Kimani Gray in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. Plainclothes officers Jovaniel Cordova and Mourad Mourad fired 11 shots; seven hit Gray, including three from the rear, according to the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The New York Daily News reported that the cops say Gray “adjusted his waistband” and then turned toward them with a .38-caliber revolver in hand. Gray’s family and an eyewitness say the youth was unarmed. New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s stance is that there is “nothing to indicate that this shooting was outside the guidelines.”

The protests have ranged from a few dozen to 200 people. The killing sparked pent-up anger over widespread cop brutality and harassment, targeting especially young Black men, often carried out under the New York Police Department’s “stop and frisk” practices.

During a March 11 protest march from the site of the killing in this mostly West Indian neighborhood to the police precinct stationhouse 20 blocks away, dozens of protesters broke away, smashed car, bus and store windows, and trashed a Rite Aid store, according to the New York Times and Daily News. One Rite Aid customer was assaulted.

“I don’t condone any riots, any looting, any shooting, anything against any police officers,” Carol Gray, Kimani’s mother, told the Daily News several days later. “I only want justice for two police officers to be off the street before they hurt another young kid.”

During the March 13 protest cops in riot gear set up a roadblock and wouldn’t allow protesters near the stationhouse. When Gray’s sister, Mahnefah, tried to cross the street they detained her and put her in a police car. Cops arrested 46 people that night for alleged disorderly conduct.

Fourteen-year-old Sabrina, who was friends with Kimani, participated in one of the vigils. “As I was leaving, the cops came up to me and told me to go home, that I shouldn’t be there,” she told the Militant. “The cops killed an innocent person.”

A week after the killing there was still a big police presence in the neighborhood. Every block had three to four cops on the corner as well as in parked cars and vans and there were some on horseback. Police helicopters at times circled the neighborhood.

The police department and local daily press have sought to justify the killing on cop accounts of Gray’s character. The Daily News pointed to his arrest record—grand larceny, possession of stolen property and inciting a riot—and reported a police source saying “that investigators believe Kimani was a member of the Bloods street gang.”

“Blame Kimani Gray,” was the headline on a March 14 column in the New York Post by Bob McManus that called Gray an “aspiring sociopath” with a “hefty criminal record.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there would be an investigation in the police conduct, while backing the cop story that “all indications are that the young man had a gun.”

“Even after the first shot—one shot—why a second bullet? Why a third bullet? Why a fourth bullet? Why?” Carol Gray told the press. “He was slaughtered and I want to know why.”

The Daily News reported March 16 that the two cops who killed Kimani were previously named in five federal lawsuits for civil rights violations, including illegal stop and search and false arrest. Those cases were settled out of court.  
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