Following an ugly night in Brooklyn in which bottles and fruit were thrown, bus windows were broken and a pharmacy was ransacked, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly detailed Tuesday what he believes took place a day earlier.
While Monday night’s violence occurred in the midst of a march protesting a weekend police shooting in East Flatbush, Kelly said it wasn’t a riot that broke out, but rather actions perpetrated by a disorderly group that splintered off from the crowd.
The police commissioner said that on the way to the 67th Precinct, some people stole fruit from local markets and threw the fruit and then the disorderly group disrupted a Rite Aid drug store on Church Avenue.
“They trashed the location, they took a man who was a customer. They tried to take the cash register, he tried to stop them, he was hit over the head with a wine bottle,” Kelly said.
That 51-year-old victim’s cellphone was taken during the wild incident, which was captured on surveillance video and released by the NYPD Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities are looking for anyone with information about the store incident to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477) or submit tips to nypdcrimestoppers.com.
Kelly said nothing can justify Monday’s night disruptive behavior, but said he believes what happened should not reflect poorly on a protest that was largely “peaceful.”
“I don’t think that has or should have any relationship to a peaceful demonstration,” he said.
The protest itself was in response to the police-involved shooting Saturday of 16-year-old Kimani Gray. Kelly said preliminarily, it appears the police shooting was within NYPD guidelines.
Plainclothes officers from the Brooklyn South Anti-Crime Patrol were walking East Flatbush on Saturday night when they came upon a group of young men standing in front of a home on East 52nd Street, according to police.
When the officers approached and started to talk to the group around 11:30 p.m., Gray began acting suspiciously and ran from the officers, police said.
Police said at one point, Gray, grabbed for something in his waistband, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported Sunday. Gray pulled out a gun and turned at the officers, according to police.
When the plainclothes officers saw the gun, they both fired. Gray was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital a short time later, police said.
The commissioner said two earwitnesses heard the police yell to the suspect to “freeze” and “don’t move.”
A loaded gun was recovered at the scene.
The Brooklyn District Attorney is investigating and will decide if the case goes to grand jury.