Family of man killed by police in Brooklyn wants body cam video released

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Family and friends of the man killed by police in Brooklyn last week are calling on the NYPD to release the body cam footage related to his death.

Officers were responding to reports of a man threatening people with a gun in Crown Heights when they encountered 34-year-old Saheed Vassell, who was carrying a metal pipe with that was mistaken for a firearm. Previously released video showed him approaching passersby and pointing the pipe at them in a threatening manner, simulating a firearm.

Four officers discharged their weapons, firing a total of 10 shots that killed Vassell. He was described as a fixture in the neighborhood, known to be mentally ill but generally harmless.

"I hope you will all stand with us and seek justice for Saheed Vassell," one relative said at the rally.

Bound together by an agonizing pain and letting their voices resound, his family and others who have lost loved ones came together outside City Hall Thursday to demand transparency from city leaders and the NYPD.

"He did not deserve to die like that," another said. "And I just want justice from the mayor, the attorney general, justice for Saheed."

Supported by advocacy groups and others, the group collectively demanded for the mayor and NYPD to release the names and disciplinary records of the officers involved.

"It's tough to stand here again after six years with another family to see them going through the same thing that I've been going through," said one attendee whose son was killed in a police shooting. "Today is my son's birthday. He should have been here. But i'm standing here with another family, asking for justice."

The family would like to know more about police protocol and why a Strategic Response Group team was deployed instead of officers who were more familiar with the area and may have known Vassell's struggle with bipolar disorder. They also want to see any unedited surveillance videos that may exist.

"All we're asking for is full transparency," one attendee said. "Everything that took place that day, prior, when it happened, and after it happened, so we all could understand."

Mayor de Blasio responded, saying that pending the investigation, the officers' names will be released if further action is required.

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