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Posted under: News Race & Identity

NYPD Releases 911 Transcripts, Video Of Saheed Vassell's Last Moments Before Fatal Police Shooting

The New York man was shot 10 times during an encounter with police.

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New York City police have released new details, 911 call transcripts and footage in the wake of the recent police shooting of a Brooklyn man.

Police responded to multiple 911 calls Wednesday about a man walking around with an object that appeared to be a gun around 4:45 p.m. The footage released Friday shows Saheed Vassell walking and pointing an object at bystanders on the street.   

After mistaking the pipe for a gun, police shot and killed Vassell in Brooklyn when the man "took a two-handed shooting stance” and pointed in officers’ direction, according to NBC. An officer on the scene fired 10 shots at the man killing him instantly.

His death has sparked a number of protests in the city. Many believe that officers overreacted and could have taken a better route to help the man. 

Blavity reported initially that a witness identified as Jack Hinds said the officer on scene immediately fired and did not take a second to speak or try to get the identity of the man. It turned out the object in Vassell's hands was a pipe with another object, possibly a knob, attached. 

Transcripts from the 911 calls all describe Vassell the same way. Callers repeatedly mentioned his brown jacket and the fact that he waved the object at people.  

The following is a transcript from one 911 Caller:

"Hi, I’m walking on Utica Avenue in the direction to... Yeah, walking away from Eastern Parkway towards Empire Boulevard. There’s a guy in a brown jacket walking around pointing. I don’t know what it is he’s pointing at people’s faces. I don’t know what if it is if it’s a gun. It’s silver."

Following the shooting, Eric Vassell, Saheed's father, told NY1 on Wednesday that his son had bipolar disorder and had been “sick for a long time.” Police, however, did not factor mental illness into how they engaged the victim. 

"This was not an EDP (emotionally disturbed person) call... this was a call of a man pointing what 911 callers felt was a gun at people on the street," NYPD Chief Terence Monahan told NBC. "When we encounter him he turns with what appears to be a gun at the officers. We have to stay straight on the facts with this incident today."

The New York's Attorney General Office has opened an investigation into Vassell's death. 

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