Unarmed black teen shot dead by police in Brooklyn
Compiled from various sources
published: Natasha Thompson – December 2012
Any news updates listed at the foot of this item
Around 5.40pm on 14th June 2012, 23 year old Shantel Davis was shot and killed by a Brooklyn police officer after police say she was driving erratically, run a number of red lights and hit a minivan. The car Shantel was driving was thought to be stolen according to NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.
Browne says; the shooting took place after two officers approached the car. Shantel then moved to the passenger’s seat and opened the door which hit officer Daniel Guida forcing him back. She then reportedly went back into the driver’s seat and put the car in reverse.
At this point Detective Phillip Atkins had opened the driver’s door holding his gun in one hand. Atkins says there was a struggle when he tried to put the car into park when the gun was discharged hitting Shantel in the chest area. She was unarmed.
Witnesses told of how Shantel was asked to step out of the car as she did she was seen to be bleeding and was comforted by a woman from the crowd. She died on the way to the hospital.
One witness said Shantel did not try to put the car in reverse also saying “They were already on her, she had nowhere to go.” Another witness, Winston Vernon said, “I saw the officer pull the lady out of the car, face down and she fell…That was it.”
After the shooting the neighbourhood were concerned.
Officer Guida and Detective Atkins, who were both plain-clothed, began to follow Shantel in an unmarked car after she ran through a red light. At the time of the incident, Atkins who fired the fatal shot was the subject of two civil rights law suits and has previously been investigated.
State Assemblyman Nick Perry commented that he was concerned about the circumstances of the death as the investigation suggests that Shantel was not a threat, despite her criminal record. He said, “I am seriously concerned that the police may have not acted with good judgement,” he said. “Deadly force appeared to have been unwarranted in this case.”
City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who broke the news to the Davis’s family, also questioned the cop’s use of force. Information was also released to the public before notifying the family of Shantel’s death.
He said “They should show greater care in the handling of a sensitive inquiry in its early stages, or at the least provide equity to the balance of facts being released; the record of the shooter, who reportedly has a number of outstanding civil rights complaints himself and carries an unfavourable reputation in the community, should be treated with the same level of consideration as the record of the deceased.”
The following day, 16th June, the Davis family staged a protest against the killing. this turned into a march around to the 67th precinct where the officer who shot Shantel works. They were joined by more than 100 people including community members, church groups and local residents.
An investigation was opened by The Kings County District Attorney’s office into Shantel’s death with the Davis family meeting with the district attorney Charles J. Hynes in August 2012.
The family spokesperson Kirsten John Foy said, “This is the first indication of some condolence from this city. We’ve just requested that [Hynes] look into the other issues that bubble to the surface about Det. Atkins.”
However, there was no guarantee that action would be taken by Atkins but there would be properly investigated, however he provided no timescale.
There has been much talk of Shantel’s previous convictions to which the family lawyer Sanford Rubenstein has said. “The penalty for operating a stolen vehicle is not death,” Rubenstein said. “This is beyond description in a free society.”
Unarmed black female, 23, murdered by Brooklyn cop
15 June 2012
Woman shot dead by Brooklyn detective
14 June 2012
Brooklyn DA to Investigate Shantel Davis Police Slaying
16 August 2012