Funeral held for Kimani Gray

March 23, 2013 8:40:04 PM PDT
Mourners gathered at St. Catherine of Genoa Church in Brooklyn for the funeral of 16-year-old Kimani Gray, who was shot to death by two New York City police officers.

Kimani Gray's death on March 9 prompted a week of protest marches and a small riot in his East Flatbush neighborhood.

Police say the plain-clothed officers fired at the teen after he pulled out a gun as they approached him on the street.

But many neighborhood residents say they are fed up with aggressive police tactics, including stopping and searching young black men like Gray without good reason.

Tensions were high Friday night, as hundreds of friends and family of the boy paid their respects.

Police hovered close, given a series of disturbances after the initial shooting.

A funeral director tells Eyewitness News about a thousand people paid their respects to Gray, and many of them openly expressed their anger over his death outside of the funeral home.

At one point, it all came to a head with mourners pushing and shoving each other.

A restless crowd got angrier and angrier.

Their frustration over not being able to get into the funeral home stems from a deeper fury over the shooting death.

"It's a lot of anger because of what happened," said Quincy Jones, a mourner.

Quincy Jones didn't know Kimani Gray, but like many there he doesn't believe the 16-year-old did anything wrong.

"I don't believe Kimani was shot because he waved a gun at a police officer, he was shot because of intimidation," Jones said.

Friday night at Gray's wake, police kept their distance.

A block away a mounted patrol stood at the ready as officers manned the corners.

Earlier in the day, Councilman Charles Barron escorted Gray's mother into the funeral home.

She walked past the media without speaking.

Inside she joined mourners saying their last goodbyes.

"It's very emotional. It's very emotional. You can't sit in there too long without crying," said Fatimah Shakur, a community activist.