An orderly protest over the death of an armed 16-year-old turned into a riot in Brooklyn tonight after young people started lashing out at NYPD officers.
Between 60 and 100 rioters gathered around Church and Snyder Ave. in East Flatbush and threw bottles and other debris at police, witnesses said, following a vigil for Kimani Gray, 16, who was shot dead by two plainclothes officers over the weekend.
One person has been arrested, though no injuries have been reported.
They were lashing out at the NYPD, who they believe are responsible for the teen’s death.
An NYPD spokesperson confirmed to MailOnline that there was a ‘large disorderly group throwing bottles at police.’
They said the protest began around 8:30pm tonight but the crowd is being dispersed by police.
New York City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams, who represents the area of Flatbush, has been tweeting live updates, and said: ‘I’m in the middle of the riot action at Church and Snyder in my district. Right now, things are tense. Young people have expressed anger.’
Mr Williams later described the scene of chaos in Flatbush, saying that garbage cans had been overturned and people smashed out windows. He added that one person had been attacked outside of a local Rite Aid.
‘Tonight was a peaceful vigil that devolved into a riot,’ he wrote. ‘The youth in this community have no outlets for their anger, no community.’
Another Twitter user who is apparently at the site said that the riot ‘sounds like a war zone.’
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A source told the New York Daily News that the protest began some 20 blocks from where Gray was fatally shot. The march went past the 67th Presinct station, where officers impeded the protest’s progress.
That’s when the peaceful protest got out of hand.
The unnamed NYPD officer told the Daily News that they saw teens jumping on cars and throwing bottles at officers.
Gray, 16, was shot eleven times after police said he pulled out a .357 revolver in East Flatbush, Brooklyn over the weekend.
Police say they came across a group of young men on Saturday evening and saw Gray acting suspiciously, walking away from his friends when he saw the officers approach.
Officers say the 16-year old began to adjust his waistband and started to act suspiciously.
Gray then turned around and pointed a .357 caliber gun at them, according to police accounts. When the two plainclothes officers saw the weapon they responded by opening fire.
The teen was rushed to Kings County Hospital but he later died.
However, witnesses to the shooting say that the NYPD’s account is wrong. Gray’s older sister, Mahnefah Gray, 19, told the New York Times that one of the witnesses of the shooting told her that her brother was only fixing his belt.
She added that her brother had too much ‘common sense’ to point a loaded gun at an officer, and doubted that he was even carrying a gun at all.
A woman who lives across the street from the scene of the shooting told the Times that Gray was calling out: ‘Please don’t let me die!’ and said the officers yelled back: ‘Stay down, or we’ll shoot you again.’
Grey lived in nearby Crown Heights, but had grown up in East Flatbush and returned there to visit friends. His older brother, Jamar, was killed in a car accident two years ago.
According to witnesses, when the two cops arrived on the scene in an unmarked car, Gray was part of a group of six teenagers standing by the side of the road.
One of Gray’s friends, Devonte Brown told the New York Post: ‘As the cops opened fire, he was screaming, ‘Stop! I’m not running!’
His friends have not explained exactly what caused the police officers to shoot.
Police say Gray’s gun was loaded with four bullets but have not yet determined whether the teenager fired his weapon.
Gray had been in trouble with the law before, having been arrested three times since October and had previously been charged with grand larceny and inciting a riot.
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