There are people out there that just hate cops. No matter what the police do, this group will find grounds for a grievance. You can tell when you are dealing with one of these perpetual malcontents inside of thirty seconds. “It takes two to tango,” the old saying goes except with police/shithead confrontations. In that case, it is only necessary to examine the police response. Here is a prime example. NYPD-releases-video-911-calls-to-defend-shooting-pipe-wielding-black-suspect.
According to community activists, Saheed Vassell pictured above was crazier than a shit house rat. He lived in a neighbourhood that until recently was an ethnic hell hole. The new denizens of the neighbourhood are rehabing old buildings, new businesses are moving in and the local environment is becoming gentrified.
According to defenders of Vassell, his idea of a good time was running through the neighbourhood “shooting people” either with a thumb and forefinger or sticks or bits of pipe. Above is a picture of Vessell pursuing his favourite past time. There is also video, at the link above.
On this particular day, Vassell was tripping through the neighbourhood terrorizing all and sundry. NYPD 911 lit up with numerous telephone calls. Apparently, all the locals who excused Vassell’s antics were away and the callers that contacted 911 were pretty emphatic about Vassel waving a gun around. Two NYPD anti-crime officers, ( plainclothes officers designated to respond to high-risk calls) reached the same conclusion. Vassell was ordered to drop the gun. Something he was unable or unwilling to do. The two officers fired ten rounds, eight of which struck Vassell. Great shooting guys! Vassel was cured on the spot, no more mental illness. Cue the malcontents: It wasn’t
- Vassell’s fault because He was crazy and everybody knew that, except for the people who called in, 911 location notes, and police officers monitoring the frequency.
- It was the developer’s fault. The process of gentrifying the neighbourhood ran off the riffraff. The old “anything goes” mentality with a dope dealer on every street corner and homeboys hanging in between has been replaced by baby carriages and merchants selling legal merchandise.
- Lack of facilities to deal with the crazy son of a bitch. They have been dealing with the fool for thirty plus years, it ought to be somebody else’s turn, like the police.
- The police shouldn’t interfere with people engaged in non-criminal conduct but should engage with mentally ill who are not breaking the law. If the police engage with mentally ill without probable cause, then they violate the consent decree NYPD is currently operating under thanks to the Mayor’s office and should be punished.
So Vassell is crazy as a shit house rat, threatening numerous people with what appears to be a pistol. He is confronted by police and declines their demand that he drop the gun. Not having a gun, he declines. They light his ass up. At the moment that Vassell refused police orders, he needed killing. Had I been there, I would have added to the bullet count.
When evaluating officer involved shootings most of the questions will go towards answering two issues. (1) Do the facts available at the time support the use of deadly force? (2) Was the use of deadly force within the bounds of policy, State statute and Federal law?
The fact is Saheed Vassell did not have a firearm. He had a pipe. A pipe used as a blunt object can be a deadly weapon (manner of its use), but he displayed the pipe as if it was a firearm. Watch the video and the still photos, movement, body language, coupled with what he may have said, convinced numerous callers that Vassell was armed with a pistol and constituted a continuing threat to any that came across him. Watch the video, this is not an unreasonable assumption. Does it matter?
A pipe as a club has a range of arm’s length plus the length of the pipe. If responding officers were convinced that Saheed was wielding a pipe then the distances would have been closer, aiding in weapon identification and opening up additional options for dealing with the situation. On the other hand, if the officers were convinced that Saheed was armed with a firearm then distance is required for officer safety.
Saheed Vassell did his family proud. He may not have contributed to the well being of the family while he was alive. In death, he has ensured that his mama has hit the ghetto lottery. Talk about two birds with one stone; get rid of Saheed’s crazy ass and buy a beachfront house in Florida, all in one fell swoop.