News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Mon. June 18, 2012: The Brooklyn-based rights group Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy, (CGID), has condemned the Police shooting death of 23-year-old Brooklyn-resident Shantel Davis.
The institute is calling on NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to release surveillance video which captured the shooting on East 48th Street and Church Avenue in East Flatbush, Brooklyn on June 14th.
CGID President Rickford Burke in a statement Friday said the Police version of the circumstances of Davis’ killing appear to be controvertible and at variance with eyewitness accounts. He called on Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes to expedite a criminal investigation.
Police spokesman, Deputy Commissioner Paul Brown claimed two plainclothes officers in an unmarked vehicle observed Davis driving a grey Toyota Camry erratically westbound on Church Avenue, running a series of red lights. The Camry eventually stopped after it collided with a mini-van. The car was reportedly stolen by an unknown male on June 5th.
Brown said when officers approached the car “They observed the driver, move to the unoccupied passenger side and open the door. The officer on the passenger side attempted to enter the vehicle, but was struck by the open door and thrown backward as the woman moved back to the driver’s seat, put the car in reverse and hit the gas. At the same time, the other officer had entered the driver side of the vehicle with his gun in one hand, and was attempting with his other hand to shift the gear into park, when a single round was discharged from the firearm, striking the woman in the chest.”
However, several eyewitnesses alleged that the officer pointed his weapon at Davis and intentionally shot her without justification. They said the officers dragged Davis’ blood-drenched, lifeless body into the road and attempted to hand-cuff her, to the vehement objection on onlookers. She was then left on the street where it is believed she bled to death before paramedics arrived. Davis was pronounced dead on arrival at Kings County Hospital.
Burke slammed Brown’s version of events, saying “it strains credulity, raises more questions than answers and sounds wildly fictional.” The CGID head said the NYPD had better make up its mind whether the officer or Davis was in the driver’s seat after she allegedly moved into the passenger seat and whether it was the officer or Davis who placed the vehicle in reverse.
He dismissed police theory that Davis moved to the passenger seat, opened the passenger door striking an officer – throwing him backward, then purportedly rushed back into the driver’s seat; where there is supposedly already another officer, placed the vehicle in reverse and allegedly hits the gas – all at once. “This is hotchpotch nonsense. Our community is outraged and is demanding the truth. We are tired of the civil right violations and of people being slaughtered extra-judicially like animals,” Burke noted.
Burke was on the scene with City Councilmembers Jumaane Williams and Mathieu Eugene, Assemblyman Nick Perry, 67th Precinct Clergy President Pastor Gilford Monrose and other community leaders on Friday, June 15th. He expressed outrage that the NYPD did not notify Davis’ family of the tragedy before releasing information about the shooting as well as her criminal record to the press. Family members were made aware of the incident when Councilmember Jumaane Williams arrived with members of the clergy.
“The rushed release of criminal records is a familiar tactic the NYPD employs to dehumanize African-American victims in such circumstances. The frenzied release of Ms. Davis’ record is no different. It was a disgraceful attempt to obfuscate the facts and circumstance of this shooting, prejudice the public’s perception of Ms. Davis and prematurely intimate a justifiable shooting,” Burke contended. He said that while CGID or no leader condones criminal conduct, Davis’ record is irrelevant to the circumstances which led to her killing and urged that the two not be conflated.
He accused the NYPD of failing to also release, if not of covering-up, the sordid record of Detective Philip Atkins who allegedly shot Davis. He said that Atkins was well known for alleged abuses of citizen’s civil rights and allegedly has a litany of complaints and lawsuits in his record.