Saturday night, undercover NYPD officers opened fire on and killed Kimani Gray, a 16-year-old resident of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. While reports of what exactly happened vary, the NYPD said the plainclothes officers approached a group of men at 11:30 pm, at which point Gray split from the group and reached for his belt in a "suspicious manner." After police reportedly asked to see his hands, the two officers said Gray turned and pointed a .38 pistol at them. The officers then fired 11 rounds at Gray, striking him several times. Gray was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The .38 recovered at the scene was never fired.
"After the anti-crime sergeant and police officer told the suspect to show his hands, which was heard by witnesses, Gray produced a revolver and pointed it at the officers, who fired a total of 11 rounds, striking Gray several times," Paul J. Browne, the NYPD's chief spokesman, told the New York Times.
But as Think Progress notes, eyewitness accounts differ from the official police reports. One witness, Camille Johnson, told Pix 11 that Gray was "running for his life, telling the cops 'Stop.'" She went on, telling the news station,"They really are, seriously shooting little kids."
According to the Times, another witness told Gray's sister, Mahnefeh, that Gray was fixing his belt, not reaching for a gun, when he was shot. Mahnefeh, as well as Gray's mother, insisted that Gray didn't own a gun and that, even if he did, he would not have pointed it at police, telling the Wall Street Journal, "He has common sense...They killed my little brother for no reason."
Another witness, who lives across the street from where the shooting took place, told the Times that Gray pleaded with the officers, telling them, "Please don't let me die." The police reportedly responded by telling the wounded 16-year-old, "Stay down or we'll shoot you again."
There were also reports that Gray had just returned to the neighborhood after attending a baby shower. One woman, who identified herself as Gray's cousin, corroborated the police's story, at least somewhat, telling NY1 that the teenager was carrying the handgun for a friend.
The incident sparked protests—which some described as a riot—Monday night in Brooklyn. According to NBC New York, there were roughly 70 protesters, who according to police reports, threw rocks and bottles. The New York Post is reporting the group looted a nearby Rite-Aid, causing property damage and injuring three. An hour after the protests were first reported, the crowds seem to have mostly dispersed.