ESSENCE Poll: Have Relations with Police in Your Community Improved or Deteriorated?
Justice for Kimani Gray/ Facebook

Tensions between police and residents of East Flatbush, Brooklyn are at an all-time low following the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Kimani Gray (pictured) by two undercover police.

Police claim Gray had a .38 caliber revolver that he pointed at them. They in turn fired 11 shots at him, seven of which entered his body, according to autopsy results reported by the New York Times. Hundreds of activists and youth from the community have attended street vigils in Kimani’s memory for the past four days, though their gatherings have been marred by looting and battles with the police. A protest on the third night resulted in nearly 50 arrests.

Gray’s mother Carol Gray has called for calm. “I don’t condone any riots, any looting, any shooting, anything against any police officers,” she said during a press conference. “Two police officers shot down Kimani and I only want justice for two police officers to be off the street before they hurt another young kid.”

A Rev. Terry Lee, who runs a local youth ministry in East Flatbush told the New York Times that despite the tension, the local police precinct had been more open to strengthening community relations in recent years. “The problem is, people still don’t want to go to the police,” he said. 

It’s a scenario all too familiar for a community with longstanding tensions with the police. Do we trust the police to protect us, or has history taught us to be suspicious? How are the relations with police in your community? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. [poll id=281511]

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