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NYPD fatally shoots emotionally distressed black man they were called to help
Photo via Luis Penados/Flickr (CC-BY)
An investigation is still underway.
In June, Seattle police officers fatally shot Charleena Lyles, a black mother of four, after Lyles called in a burglary to police. Less than two months later, a similar tragedy has happened in Brooklyn, New York.
Four NYPD officers responded to a 911 call on Monday from Dwayne Jeune’s mother who needed help with her 32-year-old son who was “emotionally disturbed” but “nonviolent.” According to NYPD Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan, after Jeune’s mother opened the door for the police officers, Jeune charged the officers while holding “a large carving knife.”
An officer attempted to tase Jeune, and after the taser failed, a second officer shot Jeune in the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The NYPD has since released a photo of the alleged knife, which appears to be covered in blood.
“While news is developing around the incident, I am nonetheless concerned with the loss of life that occurred,” City Councilman Jumaane Williams said in an official statement, the Park Slope Patch reports. “Until we get further information, I ask that we keep our prayers with the family.”
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) July 31, 2017
Meanwhile, activists are speaking out against the shooting, condemning it as yet another incident of police prejudice against black people and the mentally ill and distressed. Some claim the reporters are only covering the NYPD’s official story of events, which may be one-sided. For instance, publications such as the Daily News have labeled Jeune “deranged” yet avoided mentioning that Jeune was a member of the Flatbush Tenant Coalition and a part of his apartment’s tenant association.
“I was shocked that it happened because he’s a cool person,” 22-year-old Regina Blain told the Patch.
— Joo-Hyun Kang (@JooHyun_Kang) August 1, 2017
— Nausicaa Renner (@nausjcaa) August 1, 2017
— Donner, Party of 1 (@brianhagan) July 31, 2017
Community Access, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving people with mental health issues, has spoken out against the shooting and encouraged police officers to go through serious crisis training in order to plan for future situations.
“Though we don’t know all the details of this afternoon’s shooting, we do know that not enough police officers have received Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), an evidence-based, 40-hour program where officers learn how to properly defuse a situation with a person exhibiting emotional distress,” Community Access CEO Steve Coe said, according to Patch.
Jeune’s death follows a year burdened with violence against people of color at the hands of police officers. In Bakersfield, California, police attacked and arrested a black teenage girl who they mistook for a male suspect with a machete. And in Sacarmento, a police officer tackled and beat a black man for jaywalking. President Trump came under fire just last week for encouraging violence from police, causing many to fear police brutality would increase.
Ana Valens is an LGBTQ reporter and essayist for the Daily Dot. Her work has previously appeared in Bitch, the Establishment, Vice's Waypoint, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.