NYC Councilmember Williams Demands probe of Jeune's Killing

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Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, center, alongside State Senator Kevin S. Parker, and Assembly Member Nick Perry, right, with community leaders. Photo Credit: Ernest Skinner, NYC Council.

Council Member Jumaane D. Williams joined Senator Kevin S. Parker, Assembly Member Nick Perry, and community leaders in calling for an investigation into the shooting death of 32-year-old Dwayne Jeune.

Jeune was killed on July 31 by a police officer after authorities were called to his residence by his mother, who had reported he was behaving erratically. Officers initially attempted to subdue Jeune by tasing him after he allegedly charged at them with a knife.

"We have now seen too many deaths with the same description," Williams said. "Officers are often times put in harrowing situations and in this case it appears decisions had to be made in a matter of seconds. This is why it is important that responders to emotionally disturbed persons are equipped to handle the situation. A specific set of skills and sensitivity is needed when dealing with people who are some of the people in need the most."

Williams is calling for an independent investigation by the district attorney and attorney general, as well as a response within 60 days explaining the protocol for calls dealing with EDPs.

Concerns regarding police officers' capabilities in dealing with EDPs have been called into question. In October last year, 66-year-old Deborah Danner was killed by a New York police sergeant in her Bronx apartment after neighbors called 911 to report she was acting erratically.

According to a 2014 study by the Treatment Advocacy Center, "at least half of the people shot and killed by police each year in this country have mental health problems."

"There was a failure yesterday," Parker said. "We are asking Governor Cuomo to assign a special prosecutor. People who are living in my district are not nails, they should not be pounded into the ground."

"On behalf of myself and the people of the ninth congressional district of New York, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Dwayne Jeune," U.S. Rep. Yvette D. Clarke said, in a statement.

"We must remain vigilant as we wait for a full accounting of how a call for help from the New York City police department took such a tragic turn. Based on the information now available, I have very serious concerns about the adherence to NYPD protocols when encountering mentally disturbed persons in our community. Such important protocols have been instituted so that this tragedy could have been avoided."

"We have a systemic and institutional problem," Kirsten John Foy, Northeast Regional Director for the National Action Network, said: "We can no longer afford to take things at face value.We are calling on the district attorney to investigate.We are calling on Eric Schneiderman who has been empowered by an executive order by Governor Cuomo to look into these police killings."

"We do a lot in our community to build the relationships with the community and NYPD," said Monique Waterman, Founder of East Flatbush Village Inc. "Incidents like this set us back. There needs to be a more proactive approach when it comes to mental health. We need more funding to go into training NYPD to deal with mental health and or align an agency with NYPD to respond to 911 calls that involving a emotional disturb person."

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