Councilman Williams Tries To Calm Chaos In Community
City Councilmember Jumaane D. Williams held a press conference last Thursday at the corner of East 55th Street and Church Avenue in East Flatbush, just three blocks away from where 16-year-old Kimani Gray was shot and killed by two plainclothes police officers a few weeks ago. The councilman’s goal is to now help ease tensions in the troubled community, which was the scene of violent and non-violent protests during the previous week.
Williams stood in front of a wall which memorializes Gray with posters and candles, and told the crowd, “We tell our young people that they should be angry; they should be furious and pissed off about what’s happened in our community on a yearly and daily basis. But we need to figure out a way to channel that anger.”
The councilman continued, “The police think that young black men are violent, and it’s hard for my community to believe the things police say. We need to put our opinions together – but it’s hard to have focused discussions until an investigation is completed. We don’t need someone from Manhattan telling us what to do. We know what our problems are, and our community will take control of the situation and work things out. But, in the meantime, I’m left with 45 young people arrested, bloodied, officers hurt, and destroyed property.”
An NYPD investigation has placed both officers, who were recently identified as Sgt. Mourad Mourad and Officer Jovaniel Cordova, on desk duty until the case has been thoroughly reviewed. The police officers claim that Gray pointed a gun at them before they opened fire, allegedly shooting him at least six times.