Father Of Saheed Vassell Calls Out NYPD's Alleged "Shoot To Kill" Practices

The unjust death of Saheed Vassell shows lasting effect on the rapidly-gentrifying community. 

The father of Saheed Vassell has called out the NYPD over his son's tragic death.

Vassell's father, Eric, admits he always felt as though his son would die at the hands of the department. Vassell was a community staple in Brooklyn's Crown Heights area. While suffering from bipolar disorder, he was described as harmless by residents, but on Wednesday (Apr. 4) three 911 calls claimed Vassell was pointing what appeared to be a gun at bystanders. The object turned out to be a metal pipe, but officers on the scene fired ten rounds at the 35-year-old.

“We were always worried for him," Eric told the New York Daily News. "We would say should anything happen to him, we just have to do what we can do." Footage of Vassell with the pipe has been released, but it hasn't stopped residents from calling out the NYPD for their practices. Mr. Vassell could not fathom why police found it imperative to shoot to kill. “Why shoot to kill?” he said. “Are you so afraid that you have to take his life?”

“They just hopped out of the car. It’s almost like they did a hit. They didn’t say please. They didn’t say put your hands up, nothing,” said 40-year-old Jaccbot Hinds told reporters. He added that officers jumped out of an unmarked car and fired without warning. It was confirmed later that three plainclothes and two uniformed officers arrived at the scene.

The Brooklyn community, primarily at the intersection of Utica and Montgomery, has faced great unrest since witnessing the death of one of their own. Vassell's death has also called into question if this tragedy is a result of the rapidly-gentrifying community at large.

While Vassell struggled with bipolar disorder and refused to seek treatment for it, everyone in the community described him as non-violent. According to the New York Times, prior to his death police even described him as an "emotionally disturbed person" given their previous encounters.

One of Vassell's old lovers, who asked to stay anonymous, became emotional when a New Yorker reporter asked her about the incident. “I lived with that man. I know his son, Tyshawn, from a baby age till now, you understand? He’s not a violent person. If you trying to disarm somebody that you believe have a gun—ten rounds? Ten rounds? Ten rounds? Be honest, ten rounds?”

Her comments fell in line with those of Vassell's 15-year-old Tyshawn as he struggled to find a justification for the actions of the police. Tyshawn solemnly admitted that "this is what our society has come to".

Many of the accounts from people in the community remain the same. They tell a story of a loving father and a man who despite his personal issues became a pillar in the community for being himself.

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John Legend Reacts To Being Named People's ‘Sexiest Man Alive’

John Legend was unveiled as People magazine’s “Sexist Man Alive” on Tuesday (Nov. 12) and he's admittedly surprised by the honor. Nonetheless, Legend thanked the outlet for recognizing his sex appeal, especially after Idris Elba snagged the title last year.

Legend tweeted a split photo of himself in 1995 next to a current image of Elba along with a caption revealing that his younger self would be “perplexed” by the “Sexiest Man Alive” title. “Hell, 2019 John is about as equally perplexed,” he added. “But thank you @People for finding me sexy. I'll take it.”

1995 John would be very perplexed to be following 2018 @IdrisElba as #SexiestManAlive. Hell, 2019 John is about as equally perplexed but thank you @People for finding me sexy. I'll take it 🤓 pic.twitter.com/Gw1la5Ebv4

— John Legend (@johnlegend) November 13, 2019

Chrissy Teigen also found the humor in her husband’s new title and changed her Twitter bio to “currently sleeping with people’s sexiest man alive.”

The 40-year-old singer EGOT winner (Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Oscar) was “excited but scared” to add his People’s Sexist Man Alive to his list of accolades. “It’s a lot of pressure,” Legend told the magazine. “Everyone’s going to be picking me apart to see if I’m sexy enough to hold this title. I’m [also] following Idris Elba, which is not fair and is not nice to me!”

On a more serious note, the father of two credited his parents with teaching him humility and kindness, and beamed about his family.

“I’m so proud that I have a wife and two kids I’m so in love with and so connected to. I’m also so proud of my career. I love writing songs and performing on stage. I get a lot of joy from it and give a lot of joy to other people. I’m pretty at ease with myself now!”

[email protected] is PEOPLE’s #SexiestManAlive 2019 https://t.co/lxXce6dulv pic.twitter.com/YooHLW3vSM

— People (@people) November 13, 2019

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Trailblazers Portrayed In 'Hidden Figures' To Receive Congressional Gold Medals

Engineers Mary Jackson and Christine Darden, mathematician Katherine Johnson and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughn are being honored with the highest U.S. civilian award.

The four trailblazers, three of whom were depicted in the film Hidden Figures, will receive Congressional Gold Medal, ABC News reports. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) helped introduce the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act, a bipartisan bill signed by President Donald Trump last Friday (Nov. 8).

As the highest civilian award in the U.S., the Congressional Gold Medal recognizes those who have performed an achievement that has had a lasting impact on American history and culture.

Johnson, who celebrated her 101st birthday last summer, calculated trajectories for numerous NASA space missions beginning in the early 1950s. Vaughn, who died in 2008, led the West Area Computing unit for nine years, and was the first black supervisors at the national Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which later became NASA.

Jackson, who died in 2005, was NASA’s first black engineer. Darden became an engineer at NASA 16 years after Jackson and went on to “revolutionize aeronautic design.” She was also the first black person to be promoted to Senior Executive at NASA's Langley Research Center, and has also authored more than 50 articles on aeronautics design.

“Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Dr. Christine Darden made monumental contributions to science and our nation,” said Senator Harris. “The groundbreaking accomplishments of these four women, and all of the women who contributed to the success of NASA, helped us win the space race but remained in the dark far too long. I am proud our bill to honor these remarkable women has passed Congress. These pioneers remain a beacon for Black women across the country, both young and old.”

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Courtesy of Crawford Family, WVLT

Authorities Release Grisly Details Of Alexis Crawford’s Murder

Alexis Crawford was strangled to death before her body was thrown in a trash bin, the Fulton Country Superior Court revealed in court documents released on Tuesday (Nov. 12).

Crawford died on Oct. 31, reports the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Four days earlier, the 21-year-old Clark Atlanta University senior filed a police report against her roommate, Jordyn Jones's boyfriend, Barron Bentley, accusing him of sexual assault. Crawford had a rape kit performed on her at a local hospital. Crawford's decision to go to police caused tension between her and Jones, which erupted in a physical fight.

“As a result of the physical altercation, Barron Brantley choked the victim until she was deceased,” the Atlanta Police Department said.

After killing Crawford, Jones and Brantley, both age 21, stuffed her body into a “plastic bin” and transported it to Exchange Park in Decatur, Ga., where they left her remains.

Crawford and Jones knew each other for at least two years, and became close while studying at Clark Atlanta. The Michigan native even visited Crawford’s family’s home during the holidays.

Brantley confessed to Crawford's murder and led police to her body last Friday (Nov. 7). Jones was arrested the following day.

Brantley and Jones are both charged with felony murder and are being held without bond.

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