Mar 13 2013
Who was Kimani Gray, and why did his death send an estimated 100 people to the streets of Brooklyn last night in protest?
While the story isn’t generating a ton of national headlines yet, it has been flying around Twitter as #brooklynriot (some are now pushing the more neutral #brooklynprotest as a rival hashtag), and appears primed to develop into the latest national story surrounding police and race. With that in mind, here’s what we do and don’t know.
The protests began last night when an estimated 100 people marched toward the New York Police Department’s 67th precinct in response to the weekend death of Gray, a local black teenager who some say was shot by police in cold blood. NBC New York reports that some protesters threw garbage and empty bottles at the precinct, and that police responded by donning riot gear and barricading the street. After the protests fizzled out for the night, a smaller crowd reportedly looted a Brooklyn Rite Aid, injuring a pastor in the process.
What we do know is that police shot and killed Gray late Saturday night. What we don’t know is the exact circumstances that led the officers on the scene to open fire. Here’s the account of events authorities gave to the New York Times:
The police said the officers, patrolling in an unmarked car in East Flatbush, came upon the teenager … in a group of men just before 11:30 p.m. The teenager separated himself from the group and adjusted his waistband in what the police described as a suspicious manner. As officers got out of the car to question him, Mr. Gray turned and pointed a .38-caliber Rohm revolver at them, the police said; two officers fired, hitting the teenager. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Kings County Hospital Center.
Mr. Gray did not fire the handgun, which was recovered at the scene. Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the Police Department, said the six-shot revolver was loaded with four live rounds.
But witnesses have been telling New York media outlets a different story.