Last night’s community gathered for Kimani Gray, the allegedly armed 16-year-old fatally shot by the NYPD over the weekend, turned into a violent protest when local Brooklyn teens met police. “Tonight was a peaceful vigil that devolved into a riot,” tweeted City Councilman Jumaane Williams, a frequent critic of the NYPD. “The youth in this community have no outlets for their anger, no community center.” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly attempted to put it more delicately today: “I wouldn’t describe it as a riot, it was a disorderly group,” he said. But Williams believes his point stands, whatever the word.
“We have talked about the corrosive relationship between our community and the NYPD, but still the Mayor and the Commissioner have failed to address the root causes of this tension,” the councilman said in a statement. “We cannot turn our anger against our neighbors. We must channel it constructively and send a clear message to City Hall and One Police Plaza that change must come. Without it, I fear this will be a long and bloody summer ahead. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘a riot is the language of the unheard.’”
The NYPD has released two videos showing the destruction caused by what Kelly referred to as a “splinter group” in a local Rite Aid last night:
“I’m not concerned about what it’s called, Riot. Rebellion. Concerned about addressing the cause,” Williams tweeted today. “The word riot, violent protest, uprising. Not hung upon words. Concentrating on solutions to the anger.” He said Gray’s family requested that another vigil planned for tonight be postponed, adding, “Anger/pain make people do stupid things.”