Protesters Demand Answers in Police Shooting of Driver Who Allegedly Stole Car

Shantel Davis was shot with Detective Phil Atkins' gun Thursday afternoon, shortly after she crashed a stolen car

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    NBC New York
    San Rubenstein, attorney for the family of Shantel Davis, along with public advocate aide Kirsten John Foy and Councilman Jumaane Williams

    Community members gathered in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn Saturday to protest the shooting death of Shantel Davis, the 23-year-old woman killed Thursday when she tried to escape police in a stolen car.

    "There are unanswered questions that must be answered," said San Rubenstein, an attorney for the family of the woman, Shantel Davis.

    "We are not against the police department," said a protester, one of dozens gathered on the street corner where Davis was shot and killed Thursday. "We are against bad police officers."

    Davis was shot with Detective Phil Atkins' gun Thursday afternoon, shortly after she crashed a stolen car. Police said Atkins entered the car and discharged a single round in Davis' chest as she attempted to drive in reverse. The NYPD said it was unclear if the shooting was accidental. 

    "No one has permission to shed blood on my street, and not have to answer for it," said Kirsten John Foy, aide to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, said at the Brooklyn rally. He and other city officials like Jumaane Williams joined Davis' family in demanding justice.

    Davis was due in court the following day to face attempted manslaughter charges in a separate case. But protesters Saturday pointed to past accusations of police brutality: according to the New York Times, Atkins has been sued at least six times since 2003 over alleged brutality.

    Both the Times and the New York Post report that the city has already paid out $224,000 to settle lawsuits against Atkins.

    Davis' family says they want Atkins off the force. The president of the police detectives' union says lawsuits against officers are common, and he is confident Atkins acted properly.

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