African-American killed by police in New York

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New York, April 5 (IANS) An African-American was killed by New York City police officers during

a confrontation, the authorities said.

He was shot dead on Wednesday on a Brooklyn street corner after he pointed what the officers believed was a gun at them. The object, however, turned out to be a metal pipe with a knob on it, The New York Times reported.

The shooting drew a tense, charged crowd of dozens to the streets of Crown Heights.

The Police Department had encountered the man before and classified him as emotionally disturbed, and the shooting raised questions about what the officers on the scene knew about him.

The victim’s name was not immediately released but a law enforcement official and some local residents said it was Saheed Vassell, a man in his 30s described as a familiar figure on the corner and a caring father of a son.

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Five officers – three in street clothes, two in uniforms – were responding to three 911 calls about a man threatening people with a silver gun near the corner of Montgomery Street and Utica Avenue in Crown Heights, Terence A. Monahan, the chief of department, said.

The police found a man who matched descriptions from the 911 callers and then “the suspect then took a two-handed shooting stance and pointed an object at the approaching officers”, The New York Times quoted Monahan as saying.

A total of 10 round of shots were fired.

Dozens were still gathered at the scene late Wednesday and tempers flared hours after the shooting. “Murder!” some bystanders shouted at dozens of police officers.

Wednesday’s incident comes after police in Sacramento, California, shot and killed an African American man who they believed was pointing a gun at them, but was actually holding a cellphone.

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–IANS

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