Ray Kelly Must Resign As New York's Police Commissioner

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[Editorial Comment]

Carol Gray has called for an investigation into the shooting death of her son 16 year old Kimani Gray, who police claim approached them with a drawn handgun last Saturday night.

In addition to an investigation, New Yorkers should also ask for the resignation of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

The boy was shot seven times, according to an autopsy, with three bullets striking him in the back.

Kelly's aggressive policing, especially against African American and Latino youth, with the imposition of a stop-and-frisk regime, has poisoned relations between the communities and the New York Police Department.

Kimani's mother and many people in the East Flatbush community where the boy was shot and killed don't believe the New York Police Department's version of events. A witness told The Village Voice that the boy was unarmed.

Kimani's mother, in a news conference with Councilmember Charles Barron, says she fears other young boys will end up dead like her son. She and several of Kimani's friends say the boy didn't have a gun. "He was slaughtered," the mother said. "And I want to know why."

Even the NYPD's own version is hard to swallow:

That undercover police -- a sergeant and officer--  approached the boy in the evening because he was “acting suspicious," whatever that means, and that instead of raising his hands he brandished a .38 caliber weapon.

The Police department also claims that the undercover officers identified themselves and ordered the boy to "freeze" and to drop his weapon. That when he did not comply he was than shot and killed.

Why would the boy approach officers with a drawn gun in the first place? What would be his motive under the circumstances described by the police? Suicidal?

A vigil for the boy on Monday in Brooklyn erupted in some angry display by fed-up residents. Luckily community activists and leaders such as Councilmember Jumaane D. Williams helped contain the anger.

After residents showed more outrage on Wednesday, the police arrested 46 people.

New Yorkers in the African American and Latino communities are fed-up by the heavy handed police display.

They are fed-up with a mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and his Police Commissioner Kelly; both of them have had deaf ears for years as abused communities complained about the stop-and-frisk regime.

This illegal and unconstitutional police tactic has destroyed relations between the Police force and many in the African American and Latino communities.

Last year more than half a million people were stopped. Nine out of 10 time no weapons have been discovered.

Yet, when questioned this week, Commissioner Kelly boasted: "Well, let me say this: New York is by far the safest big city in America, What we are doing here are tactics and strategies that are working."

Kelly sees the deaths of Black males as affordable collateral damage. His type of policing that devalues the lives of Black males and that results in killings such as: the shooting of Ramarley Graham, who was followed by an officer into his home and into a bathroom and shot dead; and the shooting last year of Darrius Kennedy in Times Square.

His arrogance is remarkable considering that Sean Bell was killed when he and two friends were fired at about 50 times by plainclothes officers on November 25, 2006, during Kelly's watch.  Bell who had been celebrating his last hours as a single man before his planned wedding, had been unarmed.

In fact, his apartheid-style discriminatory policing has generated a great deal of animosity against the NYPD in African American neighborhoods such as East Flatbush, which already struggles through woes such as record unemployment levels.



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