Statements by Parents of Saheed Vassell & Brooklyn Movement Center on Day of His Funeral
The parents of Saheed Vassell, Lorna and Eric Vassell, released the following statement on the day of the funeral and burial of their son, Saheed.
“We are devastated by the murder of Saheed, because he should still be with us instead of having his life stolen by NYPD officers who killed him in a hail of at least 10 bullets in broad daylight, wrongly claiming he had a gun when he did not. While we mourn, we maintain our demands of the city that Mayor de Blasio has failed to fulfill: real and comprehensive transparency that can help ensure accountability for Saheed’s death. We condemn the NYPD’s propaganda campaign that has sought to justify the murder of Saheed by placing all of the focus on him and releasing selective, edited and inappropriate information, even though he was the victim and can no longer speak for himself. The real questions and focus should be on the officers who appeared to hop out of their cars and immediately started shooting at Saheed, as eyewitnesses have said.
“We demand that Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD release the names of the officers involved in killing our son, and there is no excuse for their refusal to do what is common-place in other cities and has been common-place in NYC in the past. The de Blasio administration must be transparent about these officers' misconduct histories, and they must release all video of officers’ actions immediately before, during and after the killing. If elected and public officials want to provide support and pay respects to our family, we hope they will push for the transparency we are seeking from Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD with the release of this information, and stand by us in our struggle to secure justice and accountability for Saheed by demanding full prosecution of officer misconduct and the firing of all officers who acted recklessly and wrongly related to the murder of our son.”
Anthonine Pierre, Deputy Director of Brooklyn Movement Center, which has been supporting the Vassell family, released the following statement.
“Our community is forced to mourn Saheed Vasell today because an unmarked car pulled up in the middle of the day and NYPD plainclothes and uniformed officers jumped out and shot Saheed Vassell in cold blood, in a hit on a member of our community.
“Yet even as we are more than two weeks later and Saheed’s family is burying him, Mayor de Blasio continues to refuse to be transparent with the family and public. Instead he has allowed his NYPD to run a damaging campaign against Saheed Vassell, seeking to unjustly criminalize and blame the victim of unnecessary police violence, instead of focusing on the actions of the NYPD officers who killed him – who witnesses say were reckless and started shooting without warning or provocation.
“The lack of transparency hinders the family’s ability to secure justice and accountability, and to remedy that Mayor de Blasio must release the names of the officers involved in this killing, information on their misconduct history, and all footage of officers’ actions immediately.”