Tensions are on edge in Harlem, after police fatally shot an 18 year old yesterday morning. While the police say Mingo Kenneth Mason was armed and ran when they approached him, residents in the housing project police chased Mason say that the police "regularly harrass" tenants and "needlessly hand out trespassing tickets" as Newsday reports. What is known is that a resident called the police to complain about a man showing a gun to three others at the East River Houses. From Newsday:
Two police officers assigned to the East Houses area responded to the scene moments later, police said. When they approached, the group began to disperse, with Mason pushing his way past the officers, knocking one of them to the ground, police said.
Those officers then used a police radio to report that a man with a gun had run away. A bevy of officers from the 23rd Precinct responded. They caught up with Mason at a basketball court near 431 E. 102nd St., three blocks from where the chase began, police said.
A 13-year veteran of the department, who is assigned to the precinct but was not identified, fired once at Mason. Police did not reveal why the officer fired, or how far apart he and Mason were.
Police said they found a loaded .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun next to Mason's body. He was rushed to Metropolitan Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead at 1:47 a.m., police said.
A neighbor who witnessed the chase on the dark streets told the NY Times that Mason was not holding a gun and that the cop "had no reason to shoot." Another witness told the Post, "He stopped and put his hands up. After that they shot him. I didn't see a gun. Kenny's not a gun kid. He's not a thug. You could talk him down."
Mason's mother said that though he had been in juvenile reform camp for a robbery, he had his GED and was hoping to be a security guard.