Officers in Kimani Gray shooting had prior stop & frisk lawsuits

Local residents mourn the loss of 16-year-old Gray. (Credit: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
Local residents mourn the loss of 16-year-old Gray. (Credit: Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Protests in East Flatbush last week stemming from the shooting of 16-year-old Kimani Gray by police officers on March 9 grew steadily calmer as the week wore on, after an explosion of violence on Wednesday night resulted in 45 arrests and one police officer injured.

City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who had come under fire for comments made accusing “outsiders” of inciting unprepared teens to violence, was able to direct a fair number of the protesters on Friday night into a nearby church for a community discussion, though a group did split off to march on to the police precinct, where someone eventually threw a bottle at police before the crowd dispersed.

Reports of a successful Youth Empowerment Seminar on Saturday preceded another night of protests. This time, on-scene reports indicated police vastly outnumbered protesters by a factor of nearly three-to-one.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week said he was not going to go out to East Flatbush because he didn’t want to “inflame things” but that he had “reached out to clergy and officials.”

He said he was planning on calling the mother of the deceased boy, but as of Sunday had still not made the call.

The mayor’s office did not respond to inquiries as to when the mayor was planning to call Mrs. Gray.

Conflicting reports of her son’s involvement in gangs have piled up, from Mrs. Gray herself telling WNYC she doesn’t think her son would ever carry a gun, but wasn’t sure, to reports from the NY Post of Facebook photos where Kimani Gray is making gang signs with his hands or videos in which he taunts a “young rival Crip.”

Experts on city gangs dismissed the Facebook and YouTube activity as amateur, and indications that Kimani’s gang involvement would have been extremely low-level; while teachers and neighbors spoke of a young man who “acted tough” but was serious about becoming an accountant and moving his family into a better neighborhood.

The principal at Kimani’s school in Manhattan said they “believed in his potential from the day he entered [the] school.”

“He traveled over an hour each day from East Flatbush… The year and a half we had with Kimani allowed us to get to know his best self,” Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction principal Matt Willoughby said.

 

Hit hard by loss of brother

Gray’s mother also talked about the effect her eldest son’s death two years ago had on Kimani: the older boy had apparently been a father figure to his younger sibling, and instrumental in keeping him in school and off the streets.

After his death, Kimani started staying out late because, he told her, he had nothing to come home to.

At the same time, the Grays had been displaced from their home and were reportedly living five-to-one-room in her brother’s apartment. They had finally moved into a new home a few days before Gray was shot by police. His mother said when she showed him the keys to the new house, he was so excited he “jumped as high as to the ceiling and said, ‘yes, we’re finally out of here!’”

 

The officers involved

The cops who shot Gray were identified last week as Sergeant Mourad Mourad and Officer Jovaniel Cordova.

According to NY1, one officer was involved in two prior lawsuits for alleged civil rights violations, and the other faced three similar lawsuits.

Some of those cases reportedly involved stop-and-frisk incidents, and city officials reportedly opted to pay settlements in all five cases.

City officials insisted that settlements do not indicate an acknowledgement of any wrong-doing, and that involvement in lawsuits do not necessarily indicate guilt.

A major stop-and-frisk lawsuit against the city commences Monday morning.

 

Community calls for experience and cultural sensitivity from police

Last week, members of the community suggested that a problem with the police force in the area is that they are often young and inexperienced: NYPD policy frequently places rookie cops in the worst areas of the city.

NYPD officials have previously said that the purpose of the Impact Program is to allow rookies to get important experience quickly.

In the case of the Kimani Gray shooting, Mourad was an 8-year veteran on the force, and Cordova had five years.

But community organizers maintained the point that more training is needed, and specific training, as repeated calls were made for cultural sensitivity by police officers when operating within the community.

 

 

 Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…