2017-08-10 / Other News

Man Slain By Cops Mourned At Vigil Calling For Justice

By Linda Steinmuller

Photo Credit: Monique Waterman Photo Credit: Monique Waterman The family of an emotionally disturbed man who was shot and killed by police last month held a candlelight vigil on Saturday to celebrate his life.

Police said Dwayne Jeune, 32, charged at four officers with a large carving knife after his mother placed a 911 call, stating her son was acting erratically but that he was nonviolent and unarmed (see “Taser Fails, Man Shot Dead By Cops,” Canarsie Courier, August 3, 2017).

When the officers from the 67th Precinct arrived at the family’s apartment, located at 1370 New York Avenue in the Flatbush Gardens apartments, on July 31st, one of the officers deployed a Taser – twice – hitting the 32-year-old man in the chest and arm, according to police sources. When the Taser failed, Police Officer Miguel Gonzalez shot Jeune, who died at the scene.

A stray bullet pierced through the next-door apartment, but no one was harmed.

Family members, elected officials, clergy and community leaders gathered outside Jeune’s apartment building to honor his memory and call for more accountability in handling emotionally disturbed persons (EDPs). A 2014 study by the Treatment Advocacy Center reported that “at least half of the people shot and killed by police each year in this country have mental health problems.”

Councilman Jumaane Williams attended the vigil and told mourners, “Right now, I cannot in good conscience recommend that people call 911 when they have an emotionally disturbed person.” Last week, the councilman demanded that a task force be set up to develop a better protocol for emergency services responding to 911 calls about EDPs. He said that the shooting has left the community wondering who to turn to if a family member or neighbor suffers from mental illness, according to an article published in dnainfo.com.

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said the department was reviewing the shooting but that it appears to have been a justified use of force.

But family members tell a different story. Jeune’s father, Vibert, accused police of telling lies and the deceased’s cousin, Charlyn Thomas, spoke at Saturday’s vigil, telling the crowd that Jeune was the victim of an overzealous officer, according to dnainfo.com. “We are demanding an investigation into this criminally negligent homicide,” Thomas said. “They were not in imminent danger. There was no struggle…no fight. This grave injustice will not be tolerated, and we will not rest until justice is served.”

Family members and neighbors said Jeune was a devoted son who helped his mother with groceries and mostly kept to himself. Thomas said her cousin was a soft-spoken, mild-mannered person who never bothered anyone. “He was not some crazed, deranged madman.”

Officer Gonzalez was involved in a similar shooting last October, when he shot Davonte Pressley, 23, outside a laundromat on Ralph and Remsen Avenues. In that incident, Pressley was carrying a firearm and a knife. When he refused to put down the knife and lunged at officers, Gonzalez shot him three times. The police commissioner said that shooting incident also appeared to be justified. However, Gonzalez was the only one of four officers responding to Jeune’s apartment who had not undergone crisis intervention training.

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Councilman James, is another

Councilman James, is another grandstanding moron politician who in a backhanded sort of way, is trying to blame the police for this. If you got a nut burger in your family who is off of their medication don't call the police; handle it yourself...good luck with that. Sick and tired of these idiots off their meds and when the cops put them down, it's NYPD'S fault? Get real.
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