Thirty-four-year-old Saheed Vassell was killed in Crown Heights, Brooklyn on Wednesday. According to The Washington Post, police said they confused a metal shower pipe for a gun.
This is narrative that continues to be used by police across the country after they use excessive force on Black men. Just last month, Sacramento police claimed they thought unarmed Stephon Clark was carrying a gun when he was actually carrying a cellphone.
BuzzFeed News on Twitter
NYPD officers fatally shot a mentally ill black man named Saheed Vassell after mistaking a metal rod he was carrying for a gun. Four officers fired a total 10 rounds at him. https://t.co/Y5fGGO60W3
According to The New York Times, Vassell was known around the neighborhood for dealing with mental health issues. As is the case in many police departments, they are ill-equipped to handle individuals, especially when dealing with black men, with these type of problems.
Crown Heights residents took to the streets on Wednesday night to express their displeasure with the incident.
Josmar Trujillo on Twitter
Crown Heights residents demanding answers. #Brooklyn https://t.co/po1dsCHVAn
Another soul lost as a result of needless and excessive violence at the hands of the police.