The police brutality epidemic sweeping through communities of color took somewhat of a backseat in media recently as Americans across the country struggled to maintain focus during the tumultuous 2016 election season, but for those most affected, the call for justice and fair prosecution has continued.
The latest fatal shooting involving police and a Black man occurred in NYC over the weekend.
Erickson Gomez Brito reportedly encountered NYPD officers Jennifer Garcia and Andris Bisogno inside the Van Dyke Houses in Brooklyn while the officers were responding to a call about a suspicious person around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. According to The New York Daily News, the two officers say they approached 21-year-old Brito and asked for his ID. The confrontation then turned physical. "At one point the officer removes his metal baton and the subject gets a hold of it and begins assaulting the two officers,” NYPD Housing Chief James Secreto said.
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Secreto said the officers opened fire on Brito shortly after he allegedly attacked them with the baton. Witnesses reported hearing around nine shots fired during the fatal incident.
Other residents in the building described Brito as a quiet "loner" who didn't bother anyone, while his family members revealed his history with addiction and depression. His 19-year-old sister and cousin both questioned why police had to take his life.
"He stays home most of the time,” Brito's cousin Alex Gomez said. “He’s gotten beat up [by the police] a few times. He doesn’t fight.”
Officer Bisogno reportedly required stitches to treat his head injury, while Officer Garcia suffered bruises on her head and underwent a CAT scan following the encounter.
Police are currently investigating the incident.