"They're killing us like dogs"
By Laura Durkay | February 6, 2004 | Page 2
NINETEEN-YEAR-old Timothy Stansbury Jr. became the latest unarmed Black man to die at the hands of New York City cops. On January 24, Stansbury Jr. was crossing the roof of the housing project where he lived, the Louis Armstrong Houses in Brooklyn when officer Richard Neri shot him in the chest at point-blank range.
"They're killing us like dogs out here, pure dogs!" said Phyllis Clayburne, Stansbury's mother, who works for the police department as a crossing guard. "It's not right, and it needs to stop."
Stansbury and a friend were crossing the roof from one building to the next to get CDs for a friend's birthday party, which was going on downstairs. Neri claimed that he thought Stansbury was "lunging" at him and his partner--but he issued no words of warning before opening fire.
Residents at the housing complex say people frequently use the roof as a shortcut. "It's a sad thing to be watching one of my friends die for being on the roof," Kenneth Gustus, a friend of the victim, told New York 1 News Channel. "Every time I see cops, I'm shaking," added Gene Washington, a resident of the complex. "I'm in fear of them. I'm scared of police."
Stansbury's family is demanding to know why two police officers were on patrol with guns drawn in a residential building. "If the police officer knows his procedures...he's supposed to say, 'Halt! Freeze! Don't move!'" said Timothy Stansbury, the victim's father. "I just don't understand why he couldn't use that procedure...You give guys a badge and a gun, what, just to go out there and be a macho man?"
Stansbury was months away from graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School. He worked part-time at a McDonald's and had no criminal record. Although even Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that "there appears to be no justification for this shooting," it's unclear whether Neri will even be charged with a crime.
Stansbury's family says Neri shouldn't get off scot-free. "My son ain't never coming home to me again," said Stansbury's mother. "I want [Neri] to go to jail for the rest of his life."