Trini shot dead: NYPD under fire
l NEW YORK
Three Caribbean lawmakers in New York have expressed outrage over the shooting death of an unarmed Trinidadian-American woman by a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer.
Shantel Davis, 23, was shot in the chest on Thursday during what police described as a "wild struggle" after she tried to drive away from a car collision on Church Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.
"I am very saddened by the loss of her life, and I wish to send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ms Davis," New York City Councilman Dr Mathieu Eugene, the Haitian-born representative for the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, said on Saturday.
Dr Eugene said he was present at the scene of the shooting to speak with police and residents who live nearby, and was also with Davis's family into the wee hours on Friday "to show my support to them during this difficult time".
"As a city, we must take comprehensive steps to reduce violence and improve the quality of life for everyone in our community in an effort to prevent such incidents from occurring again."
Eugene's City Council colleague, Grenadian-American Councillor Jumaane Williams, called the NYPD "to task for the rapid public release of information regarding this victim, which may have taken place before notification of the shooting to her family".
"They should show greater care in the handling of a sensitive enquiry in its early stages, or at the least provide equity to the balance of facts being released," Williams, who represents the 40th Council District in Brooklyn, said.
Jamaican Nick Perry, a New York State Assemblyman, said the shooting appeared "questionable".
"I am seriously concerned that the police may have not acted with good judgment," said Perry, who represents the 58th Assembly District in Brooklyn.
Police claimed that Davis, who had crashed a stolen car, was part of a violent crew who, last year, had forced a man into his home at gunpoint, robbed him and shot him as he ran away.
They have admitted that no gun was found on Davis after she was shot dead last Thursday.
But they claim her arrest record—which included robbery and drug busts—shows she was no stranger to run-ins with the law.
Davis was due in court last Friday on charges stemming from an attack in April 2011—when she and others allegedly held a man hostage as they robbed his Brooklyn apartment, court papers show.
She was out on US$25,000 bail, police said, when two narcotics cops saw her run a red light and start speeding down Church Avenue on Thursday afternoon.
Two plainclothes officers, identified as Detective Phillip Atkins, 44, and Police Officer Daniel Guida, 27, began to follow Davis in their unmarked car as she sped through a series of red lights before she crashed, police said.
Police said Davis was driving a 1998 Toyota Camry that she allegedly stole the week before.
"This is like a bad dream," said Davis's cousin Stephanie Gilmer, 40, who called her a "sweetie pie".
"She was only 23. She had her whole life in front of her." —CMC