Penny G. Woods-Evans (pennygordon) wrote in ontd_political,
Penny G. Woods-Evans
pennygordon
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Undercover cops kill Army veteran (but it's okay because he once went to prison for drug dealing)

His was a Brooklyn neighborhood riddled with the drug trade, and Shem Walker, who understood the pitfalls of that life firsthand, tried to fight it, urging neighbors to stay away from drugs and chasing men from the stoop of his family’s building in Clinton Hill.

On Saturday night, just such a confrontation with a man who Mr. Walker perhaps thought was involved in drugs — but who was actually an undercover police officer — led to his death.



Mr. Walker, 49, was shot on the sidewalk in front of his building, at 370 Lafayette Avenue, after he and the undercover officer struggled for the officer’s gun, the police said on Sunday. Mr. Walker had hit the 36-year-old officer several times on the head and told him to get off the stoop, a police spokesman said. In the fracas, the gun fired twice, hitting Mr. Walker once in the chest.

Mr. Walker’s relatives, witnesses and neighbors gave different accounts. None said they saw a fight or heard an argument between the men before the shots were fired. Mr. Walker, 49, was shot on the sidewalk in front of his building, at 370 Lafayette Avenue, after he and the undercover officer struggled for the officer’s gun, the police said on Sunday. Mr. Walker had hit the 36-year-old officer several times on the head and told him to get off the stoop, a police spokesman said. In the fracas, the gun fired twice, hitting Mr. Walker once in the chest.

Mr. Walker’s relatives, witnesses and neighbors gave different accounts. None said they saw a fight or heard an argument between the men before the shots were fired.

“He talked to him like regular,” said Mohammed Omar, 20, a cashier at a store next door to Mr. Walker’s building. Mr. Omar said he did not see the actual shooting but did see the two men talking beforehand, for about a minute. “Nobody’s angry,” he said.

Mr. Walker took care of his mother, Lydia Walker, 75, at their building, where the family took in tenants. He divided his time between a Pennsylvania residence and the Brooklyn building, where he did odd jobs.

On Sunday, relatives pushed Ms. Walker outside in a wheelchair to talk to reporters. She said her son had helped her eat Saturday night before going out.

“He just put a piece of cake in my mouth,” she said. “He said, ‘Mommy, I’m going out for a smoke,’ and that was the last time ...” Her voice trailed off, and she broke down in tears.

The undercover officer, who was working in an antidrug operation and whom the police did not identify, was sitting on the stoop of Mr. Walker’s building about 8 p.m., said Paul J. Browne, the police spokesman. Another officer in street clothes was outside the building next door at 368 Lafayette Avenue, Mr. Browne said.

They were working as “ghosts,” police parlance for undercover officers whose job is to provide backup for another officer who is doing what they call “buy and bust” work. In this case, the third officer was in front of a bodega two doors away, Mr. Browne said.

Residents had complained about drug dealing and there was a recent shooting nearby, Mr. Browne said, adding that the police had made three arrests in the neighborhood before the events that led to Mr. Walker’s death.

According to the police, Mr. Walker came out of his building and encountered the undercover officer on his stoop. “There is some statement to tell him to get off the stoop and he starts pummeling him in the back of his head,” said Mr. Browne, saying the officer was the one being hit. Mr. Walker said, “Get out of here or I will move you myself,” according to Mr. Browne.

The undercover officer at 368 Lafayette went to help. But by then, the first officer had stood up and turned around, at which point Mr. Walker struck him on the bridge of his nose, Mr. Browne said. The two men fell, ending up on the sidewalk, he said. The officer needed stitches, Mr. Browne said.

Mr. Browne said the second undercover officer then grabbed Mr. Walker from behind by the shoulders, but he shrugged him off. The first officer pulled out his Smith & Wesson 9-millimeter handgun, Mr. Browne said. “Walker grabs the gun with two hands,” he said.

The gun was fired twice, he said. One round hit Mr. Walker in the left side of his chest, and he was pronounced dead at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, the police said.

Mr. Browne said the police pieced together remarks from witnesses and the second “ghost,” but usually in shootings involving police officers, the Police Department is unable to speak directly with the officer whose gun has discharged until after the district attorney’s office has completed its inquiry.

It was not clear on Sunday whether the undercover officer who pulled his gun had identified himself as a police officer or what happened to the second shot.

When working undercover, officers try to blend in and, to the greatest extent possible, defuse situations without revealing their identity, Mr. Browne said.

However, Mr. Browne said, the police had several civilian witnesses, including two who told the police that they heard “Freeze!” and “No, don’t” just before the shots were fired. A police officer also heard someone say, “Police — don’t move,” Mr. Browne said.

He said it was the first time the officer had been involved in a shooting since joining the force in 2002. As is routine after shootings, he was placed on administrative duty, Mr. Browne said.

In Pennsylvania, Mr. Walker had served a prison term of just over three years for intent to sell and deliver drugs, Mr. Browne said. He was paroled in 2007.

A nephew, Chief Moore, 28, said his uncle had two daughters and was an Army veteran. “The police had no business shooting him in the head or chest,” Mr. Moore said. “He was no drug dealer; that’s his past. He served his country very well.”

On Sunday, a local city councilwoman, Letitia James, visited the Walker family.

She said Mr. Walker had previously asked people not to sit on his stoop. “I do know that this corner had trouble with drug activity,” she said.

Michael Smith, 29, who lives nearby, said Mr. Walker was a good influence on the neighborhood. “He’d always talk to the people and say, ‘Don’t sell drugs, stay in school,’ ” he said.

source thanks God Dr. Gates is a small, old man with a cane and had nothing in his hands when the police entered his home
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