aleqm5injh71lmvkmga6l9kjukjjkeir6a.jpgBy TOM HAYS NEW YORK (AP) — An unarmed, mentally ill teenager died in a hail of 20 bullets fired by police officers who mistook a hairbrush he was holding for a gun, authorities said Tuesday. Officers were responding to a frantic 911 call by the victim’s mother when the shooting occurred. In the call, police said 18-year-old Khiel Coppin could be heard yelling in the background, claiming he had a gun. They also said the five officers opened fire believing the black hairbrush in his hand was the weapon.

The killing of an unarmed victim in a hail of police gunfire evoked memories of previous high-profile incidents: the 50-bullet barrage that killed the unarmed Sean Bell on his wedding day in November 2006, and the 1999 killing of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo, who was hit by 19 of the 41 shots fired by police in the Bronx.

Members of the victim’s family planned to speak out about the shooting later Tuesday at a news conference organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton. “The circumstances of how it occurred at this point is under investigation and you can rest assured that we will take this very seriously,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. Officers received the 911 call from the teen’s mother around 7 p.m. Monday, police spokesman Paul Browne said. When officers arrived at the Brooklyn apartment building, they could see Coppin pacing inside the first-floor apartment. His mother was outside.

The teen’s mother had attempted to have him hospitalized earlier in the day, Browne said. He said the teen had a history of mental illness. Coppin began screaming from a first-floor window at his mother and officers before climbing out of the apartment window and heading toward the officers with the hairbrush in his hand, police said.

The officers ordered him to stop, Browne said. When the teen refused and kept approaching them, they began shooting, he said. Police said it was not immediately known how many of the 20 bullets struck Coppin, who was pronounced dead at a hospital. The police union was quick to come to the officers’ defense.

“This is an unfortunate situation where the deceased convinced everyone involved — from family members to responding officers — that he was in possession of a gun,” said Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch. “Tragically, he sought and succeeded in forcing a deadly confrontation with police.”

[Source: AP]

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  • This does not have anything to do with your post but I wanted to put this out there if you dont mind.

    Dunbar Village Protest.

    I got ripped this from What About Our Daughters blog the crew over ther have been fighting the good fight against the ill treatment of black women for a while now and deserve our support.

    The protest may be to soon for some to get on the bus, as much as I want to go, I cant but I assure you the fight will be far from over. Stop by the blog and show them your support.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007
    Dunbar Village: COUNTER PROTESTERS TO GREET SHARPTON FRIDAY AT DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    WASHINGTON, D.C.-November 13, 2007- When Rev. Al Sharpton descends on the Department of Justice headquarters on Friday, November 16, 2007, he’ll be greeted by counter protesters asking why he and other African American leaders have refused to publicly comment on a horrific crime against humanity committed against a Black woman and her child in a housing project called Dunbar Village located in West Palm Beach, FL.

    The Dunbar Village tragedy is the horrific story of the brutal gang rape, sodomy, and torture of a 35 year old black Haitian immigrant and her 12 year old son. 10 black teens forced their way into the victim’s home at a public housing complex in West Palm Beach, Florida. The mother was forced to perform fellatio on her own son at gunpoint. The teens then cut and stabbed the mother and her son, poured cleaning
    solvent on their skin and in their eyes, and would have set them both on fire, but as one teen suspect reported, no one in the gang had matches. Currently, only four suspects are in custody. During the 3 hour rape and torture, not a single neighbor called 911.

    The counter protest was organized by Shane Johnson after he read about the crime on the blog, What About Our Daughters? “How is it that practically every social justice organization from the ACLU to the NAACP to the SCLC knows something about Dunbar Village but refuses to speak out about it?”, asks, Shane Johnson who is a blogger and the author of Black Sapience…My .02 (http://blacksapience.blogspot.com). Johnson adds, “This protest is not to request that Sharpton and his allies march in West Palm Beach, but simply an inquiry regarding Rev. Sharpton’s peculiar silence on this issue.”

    For over three months, Gina McCauley, who created the blog, What About Our Daughters? (whataboutourdaughters.blogspot.com) has been asking why prominent African Americans have failed to make any public comment about the Dunbar Village crime. She posted the names and contact information of prominent African Americans and organizations on her
    blog and despite numerous calls, emails and letters from readers, not a single person on the list has issued a public comment on the crime. She describes their refusal to publicly comment “Immoral Indifference.”

    “It is the height of hypocrisy that Black leaders have remained silent for so long about the Dunbar Village Rape tragedy. Black leaders remain silent about victims of Black on Black crime.” McCauley noted on her blog that several prominent African American issued statements on the humane treatment of animals during the controversy surrounding Michael Vick. “We can get a statement about dogs, but not about two
    human beings.”

    Tanisha Mathis, who operates the website Essential Presence (http://essentialpresence.blogspot.com) adds, “African Americans are falsely led to believe the mainstream is not sensitive to their issues but its proven repeatedly that it is, in fact, Black leaders and Black news entities that are the most silent in regards to crimes against Blacks like the Dunbar Village gang rape.”

    McCauley and Mathis have both blogged tirelessly about the Dunbar village case and have produced online videos in an effort to increase awareness of the crime. To date, their videos have been viewed almost 100,000 times. Mathis’ video was featured on the local news in West Palm Beach, and Mathis has toured Dunbar village at the behest of local leaders.

    The counter protesters will meet Rev. Al Sharpton and his supporters in Washington, DC at the Justice Department on Friday, November 16, 2007.

    “This type of crime happened on our watch and our “leaders” are still silent. They are silent because they are indifferent. Their indifference is immoral.” McCauley says.

    This protest is a call to arms for anyone who cares about black women. For more information, contact Shane at [email protected] , http://blacksapience.blogspot.com.

    Posted by clnmike at 9:36 PM

    November 14, 2007 6:51 PM

  • Chloe

    Protests don’t arise as the result of a crime taking place, protests are organized when there’s evidence of discrimination or gross injustice. In the Dunbar case, 4 of the 10 assailants have been detained, the investigation is active and leads are being pursued. There have been no reports of a cover-up nor has law enforcement been indifferent. We want justice and equal treatment under the law and fortunately, justice is being pursued in this case. There was no justice in the charges levied against the Jena teens or in the acquittals of those responsible for the murders and torture of Amadou Diallo, Abner Louima and Martin Lee Anderson. Those cases reflect a complete absence and breakdown of the law. As horrific and vile as the Dunbar attack was, it is being handled properly. When the police and prosecution do their job, pursue the perpetrators, make arrests and secure convictions, intervention from justice organizations isn’t required. Why would the ACLU, NAACP or SCLC get involved in a case where there’s no evidence of discrimination or human rights violations on the part of law enforcement or government officials? The attorney for the family of Martin Lee Anderson, the 14 year old who was beaten to death by guards who were later acquitted, said ‘You kill a dog, you go to jail. You kill a little Black boy, nothing happens.’ In the Dunbar case, something IS happening. The 4 assailants arrested have NOT been released, absolved or otherwise spared the consequences of their actions.
    http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_4037.shtml Instead of staging misguided protests against justice organizations who have no reason to intercede in cases where the law is being applied, perhaps the Dunbar bloggers should demand to know why the neighbors didn’t call 911.