Tragedy Revisited
November 15th, 2007

For members of the City Council, this week’s fatal shooting in Bedford-Stuyvesant not only triggered painful memories – this month marks the year anniversary of the shooting of Sean Bell– but also the need for the city to examine its treatment of the mentally handicapped and mentally ill.

Several council members, from Councilmember Al Vann of Brooklyn to Councilmember Oliver Koppell of the Bronx to Councilmember Rosie Mendez of Manhattan, stood on the chamber floor during the body’s stated meeting calling for a system that better responds to the mentally ill as well as for a better response from the New York City Police Department during emergencies.

“We are seeing situations where police are supposed to deescalate the situation, and they instead escalate them,” said Mendez.

The comments serve as a primer for a press conference tomorrow hosted by Vann where the family of Khiel Coppin will respond to the tragic shooting that occurred Monday evening. Coppin was fatally shot by police after an alleged domestic dispute with his mother.

Police have said they believed Coppin was a threat. The 18-year-old was holding a hairbrush at the time of the shooting and was reportedly mentally ill.

In the council chamber today, Vann, who represents Coppin’s neighborhood, brought his fellow members and council staff to a seemingly remorseful silence. Vann went far over his allotted two-minute general comment period, but members and other city officials barely noticed.

Many listened intently, some bowing their heads in a somewhat contemplative state, as Vann asked his council colleagues to raise awareness and speak out against the incident.

“Maybe we dont have any answers,” said Vann. “We still haven’t found out how to create a system to treat the medically deranged or mentally ill.”

The press conference tomorrow is scheduled for noon at the Brighter Way Baptist Church in Brooklyn.

By on November 15, 2007, 5:58 pm
In category: Gotham City | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “Tragedy Revisited”

  1. Candice Coppin Says:
    November 16th, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    I feel the police department needs to take responsibility for the end results of this shooting. I thought the police were supposed to serve and protect…not serve and ambush. Were 20 rounds necessary? Even if Khiel was holding a gun…did he shoot? NO! He was just holding and pointing an object. The battle was 5:1, the police could have easly shot Khiel in the leg or arm, which would have made him dropped the alleged weapon, which turned out to be a “hairbrush”. I have my degree in Criminal Justice and the actions of the police encourage me to not want to use my degree to become a cop. Police policy and procedures need to be revamped on how to handle crisis situations.

  2. BrooklynEyes Says:
    November 17th, 2007 at 11:43 am

    it’s obviously brutality. The police will probably use for an excuse the recording of Khiel Coppin saying, “I’ve got a gun, I’ve got a gun:”

    Finally, they’ll give the excuse that after they told him to stop approaching them, to drop what they thought and believed to be a gun, he kept approaching before they opened fire.

    The usual lame police excuses — and we’re SICK!!!! of them!!!! Excuses excuses excuses for doing what they wanted to do anyway: shot an unarmed man. They should be shot!!!!!

    There needs to be a law that you cannot shot at someone until AFTER they’ve shot at you. And it should be several shots, just to make absolutely sure that it is a gun that’s being used against you and that you’ve clearly identified the person that is shooting at you. And then you need to radio in to get permission to return fire, and permission can only be given after police, community and political leaders have meet to discuss whether or not you can shoot back.

    Obviously, anything less than this is a miscarriage of justice and — let’s call it what it is — murder by police!!!! It’s time to take a stand!!!!!!!

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