Saheed Vassell video
NYPD released this image of Saheed Vassell brandishing a pipe at pedestrians in Crown Heights. Photo: NYPD

The parents of Saheed Vassell, the Brooklyn man shot and killed by police in early April, spoke out on Friday about the death of their son and their demand for action from officials.

 

Vassell, 34, who was mentally ill, was fatally shot on April 4 in Crown Heights by NYPD officers who believed he was holding a gun. The object was later identified as a piece of welding torch, the New York Times reported.

 

The funeral for Vassell was held Friday morning, April 20. In a statement sent after the service, Vassell’s parents, Lorna and Eric Vassell, released a statement calling for more action from the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

 

“We are devastated by the murder of Saheed, because he should still be with us instead of having his life stolen by NYPD officers who killed him in a hail of at least 10 bullets in broad daylight, wrongly claiming he had a gun when he did not,” the statement begins. “While we mourn, we maintain our demands of the city that Mayor de Blasio has failed to fulfill: real and comprehensive transparency that can help ensure accountability for Saheed’s death.”

 

Vassell’s parents added that they “condemn” the way the NYPD has released selective information about Vassell without also releasing information on the officers involved.

 

“We demand that Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD release the names of the officers involved in killing our son, and there is no excuse for their refusal to do what is common-place in other cities and has been common-place in NYC in the past,” they said. “The de Blasio administration must be transparent about these officers' misconduct histories, and they must release all video of officers’ actions immediately before, during and after the killing.”

The Vassells said they will continue to demand “full prosecution of officer misconduct and the firing of all officers” involved in the killing of their son.

NYPD said the names of the officers involved will be made public, but did not give a specific date.

“At some point, the names will be released,” Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said recently on Good Day New York. “But we’re going to wait for [the investigation] to go a little bit further.”