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‘Was this force justified?’ Lawyer demands body cam footage in deadly Brooklyn police shooting

Photo Dec 20, 7 00 55 AM
Police canvass the Eastern Parkway location following a police shooting on Dec. 20, 2021.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

A lawyer representing the family of a man killed in a Brooklyn police shooting Monday is demanding the NYPD release body camera footage to prove the Department’s contention that he died in a “suicide-by-cop.”

The NYPD contends that Eudes Pierre, 26, was trying to end his life when he was shot and killed by two officers on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights in the early morning hours on Monday, but family attorney Sanford Rubenstein argued at a press conference Wednesday that the truth cannot be determined except for with one’s own eyes.

“Was this force justified? We need the body cam video to make that determination,” Rubenstein said, with Pierre’s mother Marguerite Jolivert by his side. “We call upon the NYPD or the Attorney General’s office, who has jurisdiction over this matter, to release the body cam. Pictures are the truth.”

“To have the NYPD police itself and make statements that this was a suicide-by-cop is not appropriate to determine what really happened here,” Rubenstein continued. “We don’t know what happened here.”

Police responded to a 911 call a little after 4 am Monday morning reporting a man with a gun and knife in the vicinity, finding Pierre holding a knife in one hand while resting his other hand in his pocket. After shouting at him to drop the weapon, cops say they followed Pierre into the nearby Utica Avenue subway station, and attempted to immobilize him with a taser to no effect. Back outside, police allege, Pierre continued refusing to drop the knife, and eventually charged at the officers at which point they fired the fatal rounds.

Rubenstein noted that the two officers had fired 10 rounds at Pierre, with one officer firing 7 shots and the other firing 3.

The Department said an initial investigation found that the 911 call had been made from Pierre’s cell phone, that no gun was ever found on his person, that a suicide note was found at his residence, and that cops had previously responded to intervene in suicide attempts by him, which led them to suspect a suicide-by-cop. That’s the second time in six weeks that the Department has alleged a deadly use-of-force in Brooklyn was a suicide-by-cop, following the death of Brian Astarita on the Belt Parkway in November.

An NYPD spokesperson did not provide a concrete answer on whether it would be releasing body cam footage, instead referring amNewYork to the Department’s policy on releasing said footage. A spokesperson for Attorney General Letitia James did the same.

The 6’3″ Pierre was a forward on the basketball team at the College of Staten Island; he had been going there for four years and was a few credits shy of graduating when he decided to take a break from school, his mother, Jolivert, said Wednesday. He was delivering for Uber Eats and helping to pay the rent at the time of his death, the Daily News reported.

Jolivert said that her son had mental health problems, and told the Daily News that a mental health counselor should have been present at her son’s episode, rather than cops. A bill in the City Council to replace cops with mental health professionals in calls involving so-called emotionally disturbed persons failed to pass this year. The de Blasio administration launched a pilot program in Harlem to test out the idea, but a review by the news outlet The City found that cops still responded to most mental-health related 911 calls.

“My son was a good kid. He was the life of the party. And my son got killed,” Jolivert said Wednesday. “He was sick, he had mental disease. He didn’t deserve to be killed like an animal.”

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