Teenage boy shot by police in Brooklyn files federal lawsuit against officers

BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A 15-year-old boy was shot three times while trying to run away from police in Brooklyn, and his outraged mom says newly released video proves her son was no threat.

The teenager doesn't deny running from them nor having his friend's airsoft gun in his hands.

But the teen and his attorney insist his civil rights were violated when police fired at him.

Kestin Charles is still reduced to tears when asked about the day police shot him.

"It's hard for me to explain emotionally, I was scared for my life trying to get away," he said.

It was December 19, 3 years ago. Keston was only 15 years old. He skipped school that morning. 9th grade.

When other kids beat up his friend, he says he grabbed his friend's airsoft gun, which was not loaded, and pointed it at the other kids to get them to stop.

By the time police stopped at the Brownsville houses, Keston had the airsoft gun in his hand and started running back to his home.

"Did you turn around with the gun in your hand and threaten the cops?", I asked. "No I did not," he said.

"Did you ever point that gun at them?", I asked. "No, I did not," he said.

Surveillance video of the chase and police shooting is at the crux of a federal lawsuit against the officer who shot him and his partner.

I'm told one officer fired 16 shots, emptied his gun on Keston. One bullet hit the Keston in the buttocks.

You see Keston falling then. The other two, I'm told, struck the teen in the chest and in his side.

Attorneys Phil Smallman and David Shanies say those last two hits happened while Keston already had his arms up in the air.

"I had my hands up, I turned around and he continued to fire," said Kestin.

"The law is very clear in saying that an officer cannot shoot a person in the back simply for running away from them, and it goes without saying that an officer cannot shoot a person who is surrendering himself with his hands on his head," said Shanies.

The attorney says the officer who fired the shots was exonerated. Meanwhile 18 yr old Keston Charles served 18 months probation and is now trying to get his GED

"Do you wish you had gone to school that morning?," I asked Kesin. "Yeah I do," he said.

City lawyers have now filed a motion to throw out the case insisting the shooting was justified.

An internal police review also cleared the officer. A federal judge will now decide if Keston Charles' civil rights were violated.

In a statement, the NYPD said:
"We have the photo of the gun. It appears to be a replica .45 Colt Model 1911. Keston Charles plead guilty in family court to possessing an imitation pistol. He displayed the gun at 3pm on a crowded street, causing members of the community to flag down our officers to report a man with a gun. Charles admittedly fled with the gun in his hand, posing an apparent threat of death or serious physical injury not just to the two officers, but to everyone in the area. He was ultimately struck 3 times, buttocks, chest and near his ribcage. Charles willingly surrendered only after he was shot.
The Brooklyn District Attorney declined to present the shooting to a grand jury, there was no federal investigation, and PO Rivera was cleared by the Firearm Discharge Review Board.
As a result, we have asked the court to dismiss the civil suit. That is an unusual step in a shooting case, because we rarely have such a plethora of evidence not subject to debate."
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