Riots broke out Monday night and more could be coming Tuesday, if calls by the hactivist collective Anonymous are answered, over the death of a 16-year-old who was killed by NYPD officers Saturday in Brooklyn.
Kimani Gray, 16, was killed by undercover NYPD officers. (Photo: Family handout via WSJ)
Kimani Gray was shot and killed by undercover police officers in the East Flatbush neighborhood, according to the New York Times. Police claim Gray, who was with a group but distanced himself from them, pointed a .38-caliber Rohm revolver at the plain clothes officers causing them to open fire. NYPD chief spokesperson Paul Browne said, according to the Times, that Gray did not fire the weapon, which was recovered loaded at the scene.
A vigil for mourning community members was held Monday but turned violent around 8:30 p.m., according to DNAInfo. DNAInfo reported a NYPD source saying some in the crowd were throwing bottles at police and as the scene escalated, a Rite Aid drug store was looted.
DNAInfo reported one of the vigil organizers, Sandra Mitchelin, saying the teenagers in the crowd became violent when no elected officials attended the mourning event.
“The kids, they retaliate because they want their voice to be heard," Mitchelin told DNAInfo. "They're frustrated. Not even the police commissioner or the mayor. Nobody came out... And he was a baby!”
City Councilman Jumaane Williams at this point came onto the scene. Williams issued some of the following tweets regarding the vigil turned violent:
I'm in the middle of the riot action at Church and Snyder in my district. Right now, things are tense. Young people have expressed anger.
— Jumaane D. Williams (@JumaaneWilliams) March 12, 2013
Tonight was a peaceful vigil that devolved into a riot. The youth in this community have no outlets for their anger, no community center. — Jumaane D. Williams (@JumaaneWilliams) March 12, 2013
The crowd is getting smaller. I only wish I had gotten here a few moments sooner, before the riot began. — Jumaane D. Williams (@JumaaneWilliams) March 12, 2013
@xylonex @occupythemob "Riots are the language of the unheard" --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (I too prefer peaceful protest) — Jumaane D. Williams (@JumaaneWilliams) March 12, 2013
Although the riots Monday night were dispersed, the loosely tied hactivist collective Anonymous has called for "mass street action" Tuesday:
CALLS FOR MASS STREET ACTION: Tuesday night, for #NYPD killing of 16 year old #KimaniGray #BrooklynProtest #FTP #YAN twitter.com/57UN/status/31…
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) March 12, 2013
Anonymous has also already taken some retaliatory action against the NYPD, claiming to leak a list of police phone numbers. Only, as @xylonex pointed out (via The Move Right) on Twitter, the phone numbers are publicly available precinct numbers not technically then constituting a leak.
Here is a screenshot of the "leak" posted on Pastebin by members of Anonymous. (Image: The Move Right)
@xylonex has also been engaging in a conversation with one of the Anonymous Twitter accounts over the protest they are calling for Tuesday. @xylonex is saying while she supports peaceful protests, she can't get behind Anonymous on their call for "mass action" thinking it is inciting violence in the streets.
As for the shooting of Gray, there are some conflicting reports as to what really happened that night to cause police to fire 11 total shots. NYPD spokesperson Browne told the New York Times that the officers on duty identified themselves and asked Gray to show his hands, at which point he allegedly pointed the revolver.
Gray's sister, 19-year-old Mahnefah Gray, on the other hand claims that her brother was fixing his belt and noted, according to the Times, that no one ever knew 16-year-old to own a gun.
Watch this WPIX report with witness accounts:
The Wall Street Journal reported law enforcement saying Gray had three arrests with adult charges for stolen property, which was not known by the officers involved in the fatal shooting. NBC New York, on the other hand, reported that Gray had four arrests, one for grand larceny.
Here's NBC New York's report:
To the Wall Street Journal, Browne said, "[the] overarching question on whether a shooting is justified or not is whether an officer or some other person is in imminent danger."
NBC New York reported that an investigation into the fatal shooting of the teen is underway. It also stated the officers involved were taken to the hospital for trauma and tinnitus.