The death of Shantel Davis has her Brooklyn community upset at police officers. Davis was killed in a chaotic confrontation on Thursday afternoon, which started when Davis had been running red lights in East Flatbush while driving a stolen car. After she crashed into another car, police officers demanded she get out and during a struggle, she was fatally shot. Davis' family lawyer Sanford Rubenstein (who represents the family of Sean Bell) said in a rally yesterday, "There are unanswered questions that must be answered."
Police have pointed out that Davis, 23, was positively identified as the person who carjacked the Toyota Camry at gunpoint from a woman earlier this month. Davis was also due in court on Friday for attempted murder, based on her alleged involvement in a home invasion that resulted in a man being shot four times. However, the police officer who shot her, Detective Phil Atkins, has been named in various lawsuits over civil rights violations or excessive force and the city has settled or is in the processing of settling many lawsuits.
One protester yesterday told NBC New York, "We are not against the police department. We are against bad police officers," while Kirsten John Foy, aide to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and one of the city officials arrested after the West Indian Day Parade, said, "No one has permission to shed blood on my street, and not have to answer for it."
The police are still investigating the shooting, to determine whether Atkins' gun was fired accidentally, but some witnesses claim that Davis yelled, "Don't shoot" but Atkins shot anyway. The police say that while Davis was trying to escape in her car, with Atkins at the driver's side, she "shifted the car into reverse and stepped on the gas, causing the car to lurch back three to four feet. This caused the officer on the passenger side"—Daniel Guida—"to be struck by the door. Davis then stepped on the gas a second time, causing the car to move backwards an additional 14 feet, knocking the officer on the passenger side back into the street."
Still, many want Atkins off the force. One resident said, "We in this neighborhood know Atkins. He terrorizes this neighborhood and something has to be done."