Tensions are high between Brooklyn residents and the NYPD after an unarmed 23-year-old woman was fatally shot by an NYPD officer in East Flatbush Thursday.
Around 5:40PM, The New York Daily News reports, plainclothes cops spotted Shantel Davis drive erratically in a Toyota Camry she'd allegedly stolen at gunpoint earlier this month.
After running a series of red lights, she crossed a double yellow line at East 38th Street where, according to NYPD spokesman Paul Browne, she crashed into a minivan.
As cops approached Davis-- who had an extensive criminal history, including 8 arrests, according to police-- she attempted to open the passenger side door. A cop was hit by the door and pushed backwards. Davis then reportedly went back to the driver's side and put the car in reverse, hitting the gas.
At the same time, another cop, Detective Phil Atkins, entered the vehicle through the driver's side door, attempting to put the car in park. In one hand, he was carrying a gun.
"He’s attempting with the other hand to shift the gear into park,” Browne said. “When she’s hitting the gas, a single round was discharged from his firearm, striking the woman in the chest.”
Cops then asked Davis to step out of the car, which she did, dramatically stumbling onto the street, bleeding profusely as a large crowd looked on in horror. From The New York Post:
A woman from a crowd of about 100 onlookers “cradled [Davis] in her arms and rubbed her head,” said witness Nacole Daniel, 26.
“She was fighting, but there was so much blood gushing out,” said the woman who comforted Davis.
Browne said it was still unclear if the the officer intentionally pulled the trigger of if it fired accidentally.
Neighborhood residents were upset Thursday at what they were concerned was another case of excessive police force. As police descended on the scene of the crime, people screamed, "Murderers!"
"She did not try to put no car in reverse,” one witness said. ”They were already on her, she had nowhere to go.”
State Assemblyman Nick Perry called for an investigation. “I am seriously concerned that the police may have not acted with good judgement," he said. "Deadly force appeared to have been unwarranted in this case.”
And City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who visited Davis's family to break the news, also questioned the cop's use of force. "I must call the NYPD to task for the rapid public release of information regarding this victim, which may have taken place before notification of the shooting to her family. They should show greater care in the handling of a sensitive inquiry in its early stages, or at the least provide equity to the balance of facts being released; the record of the shooter, who reportedly has a number of outstanding civil rights complaints himself and carries an unfavorable reputation in the community, should be treated with the same level of consideration as the record of the deceased."
He also urged the community to stay calm. "Emotions are understandably running high, but we should not allow this to spawn any retaliatory or secondary violent activity."
Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, said, “Based on the facts and circumstances, I am confident our detective’s actions were appropriate and justified."
Davis was expected in court Friday to face charges of attempted murder, possession of a loaded weapon, burglary and kidnapping, all stemming from a 2011 incident.
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