The father of Saheed Vassell, who was fatally shot by four police officers in April, is planning to sue the officers and the city for $25 million, claiming the cops “intentionally and maliciously” killed his son, according to a notice of claim filed Thursday.
Vassell, 34, was shot nine times by four officers responding to 911 calls reporting a man pointing what appeared to be a gun at pedestrians in Crown Heights on April 4, according to police. The weapon he was holding turned out to be a welding torch.
Vassell’s father alleges that police officers arriving on the scene immediately opened fire on him, and is claiming that the city has not properly trained officers to appropriately respond and handle situations involving emotionally disturbed individuals. Although it was later revealed Vassell was bipolar and not on medication, 911 dispatchers who initially were contacted were not aware of his medical history.
“The City of New York and New York City Police Officers John Does 1-4, who the City of New York has so far refused to identify, intentionally and maliciously shot and killed the decedent, Saheed Vassell, without any basis, cause or justification,” says the notice of claim, filed by attorneys Robinson Iglesias, Michael Hueston and Richard Cardinale.
Police have said that Vassell took “a two-handed shooting stance” when the officers arrived, prompting them to open fire. The shooting is under investigation by the NYPD, as well as the New York attorney general’s office.
The city says its policy on withholding the names of the officers protects their safety while an investigation is underway.
Both the NYPD and the city’s law department declined to comment on the pending legal action.
With Lauren Cook