Another day, another officer-involved shooting. Tensions ran high in Brooklyn over the weekend after police shot and killed an unarmed woman who was suspected of stealing a car.
According to the Huffington Post, police spotted 23-year-old Shantel Davis when she was driving erratically in a car she’d alleged stolen. After running several lights, Davis hit a minivan. When cops approached her car, she tried to escape, but was unsuccessful.
As cops approached Davis– who had an extensive criminal history, including 8 arrests, according to police– she attempted to open the passenger side door. A cop was hit by the door and pushed backwards. Davis then reportedly went back to the driver’s side and put the car in reverse, hitting the gas.
At the same time, another cop, Detective Phil Atkins, entered the vehicle through the driver’s side door, attempting to put the car in park. In one hand, he was carrying a gun.
“He’s attempting with the other hand to shift the gear into park,” Browne said. “When she’s hitting the gas, a single round was discharged from his firearm, striking the woman in the chest.”
After shooting Davis, the cop told her to get out of the car. She complied, but collapsed on the pavement. A bystander cradled Davis’ head as she bled profusely in the street. She later died in a local hospital.
Police insist Davis was shot during a struggle and was grabbing for the detective’s gun. Michael Palladino, head of the Detectives Endowment Association, told reporters that he’s confident the shooting will be deemed appropriate and justified. However, some witnesses claim Davis was not trying to escape once officers were inside the vehicle.
Davis was on bail for attempted murder and kidnapping stemming from an incident in May. Despite her record, community leaders are pressing for an investigation of the incident, citing the officer’s record of being sued for civil rights violations.
“The officer who did this shooting is known that he has two civil rights discriminatory suits against him currently and he’s known out here as someone who razes people,” said City Council Member Jumaane Williams. “So if were going to be talking about people’s records, I think we should talk about the shooter and the victim at the same time.”