Lingering Questions In Fatal Police Shooting Of 16-Year-Old Kimani Gray Spark Protests

For the third straight night, a large crowd of mostly young people hit the streets of Brooklyn to protest the police shooting of 16-year-old Kimani Gray. According to the police, Gray pointed a a .38 caliber revolver at two undercover officers, before they shot and killed him. Others, particularly friends and family of Gray, are casting doubt on the official account of the incident.

Here is a summary of the lingering issues:

There are no witnesses who saw Gray with a gun. “When asked if there are any witnesses in the case who ‘specifically say they don’t see a gun,’ Commissioner Kelly said, ‘No.’ The commissioner went on to say the department has three civilian witness. Two of them heard an officer say, ‘Don’t move,’ the commissioner said. The third said they heard an officer say ‘freeze.’ The commissioner added that one of the witnesses also heard an officer say, ‘What do you have in your hands?’…Asked again if ‘witnesses say the gun was pointed at the officer at any time,’ the commissioner said, ‘No. I told you what we have as far as the witness is concerned.’” [Village Voice, 3/13/13]

One eyewitness insists Gray “did not have a gun in his hand.” “A Brooklyn woman who claims she had a ‘bird’s-eye view’ of the fatal police shooting of 16-year-old Kimani (Kiki) Gray says the youth did not have a gun in his hand. Tishana King is the only civilian eyewitness to come forward, and her account sharply differs from Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly’s assertion that Gray had pointed a .38-caliber revolver at the cops before they opened fire. ‘I’m certain he didn’t have anything in his hands,’ King told the Daily News.” [NYDN, 3/13/13]

The autopsy report found Gray was hit with 7 bullets, including 3 in the back. “Seven bullets hit Mr. Gray, including three that entered his body from the rear, according to the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The autopsy did not establish the order in which the bullets struck Mr. Gray, or determine the path of the bullets, which might make clearer if Mr. Gray had his back to the officers when he was shot, or if he had twisted away after being struck from the front.” [New York Times, 3/14/13]

The police have not questioned the officers involved since the shooting occured. “When asked how many witnesses saw Gray with a gun or pointing a gun, Commissioner Kelly first said that, ‘We are not speaking to the shooting officers because of an agreement that we have with the district attorney.’ The commissioner explained that speaking to the officers could give them immunity; ‘So we don’t have direct information from the officers themselves.’” [Villiage Voice, 3/13/13]

More details are also emerging about Gray’s history of trouble with the law. According to the New York Post, Gray has been “arrested on almost a dozen charges since turning 16 last year. His arrests include grand and petit larceny, possession of stolen property and inciting a riot.” It is not clear how many charges, if any, resulted in convictions.


Some of last night’s protesters clashed with police “pitching bricks, bottles and garbage.” 46 people were arrested.