Demonstrators angry about the fatal police shooting of a teenage boy protested for a fourth night in Brooklyn after the teen's mother demanded "justice" for her son but said she didn't condone violence or rioting.
No major clashes were reported Thursday night in East Flatbush, after protests earlier in the week had resulted in arrests, looting and minor scuffles with officers.
Carol Gray spoke publicly for the first time Thursday, choking up as she talked about her son, Kimani Gray, who was killed Saturday in a confrontation with police. Police have said the boy had a gun, but his supporters dispute that.
"He's my baby, and he was slaughtered, and I want to know why," she said.
Gray, who said she picked out her son's casket earlier Thursday, pleaded for the public to remember him as a typical teen who liked girls, had pimples on his face and was sometimes early for curfew.
"I don't condone any riots, any looting, any shooting, anything against any police officers," she said. "Two police officers shot down Kimani and I only want justice for two police officers to be off the street before they hurt another young kid."
The officers have been placed on administrative duty, the NYPD said. Mayor Bloomberg said "all indications are" that Gray had a gun, but promised a full investigation.
Store owners and residents in East Flatbush were jittery this week after the unrest.
"We can't have violence," resident Leroy Brandon said Thursday. "We live in this community."
Protesters clashed with police Wednesday night after a candlelight vigil for Gray just blocks from where he was shot. The anger was palpable as a group of young people heckled police officers in helmets and marched down a street.
The vigil's organizers tried and failed to calm the young people, some of whom later threw bottles at police officers. One officer's face was hit with a brick; he was treated for a laceration, police confirmed.
Forty-six people were arrested on disorderly conduct charges during Wednesday evening's protest, including Gray's sister, police told NBC 4 New York. Police said additional and varying charges are pending for many of those arrested. Specific charges against Gray's sister were not immediately clear.
The Wednesday protest came after the medical examiner's office ruled that Gray was hit seven times, and had wounds in both the front and back of his body, including his shoulder, rib cage, forearm and legs.
The teen was with a group Saturday night, but left when he saw police in an unmarked car, police said. Authorities said he was acting suspicious and plain clothes officers approached him. According to police, Gray pointed a .38-caliber revolver at them, and they opened fire. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
A gun was recovered at the scene, according to police.
Gray was black. The officers involved in the shooting were black and Hispanic.
A police officer may use deadly force when the officer has a reasonable fear of serious injury or death. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the shooting appeared to be within those guidelines.
But supporters of Gray maintain he wasn't armed. His mother said Thursday she also believes he was not, and said he left the house Saturday afternoon like it was any other weekend, heading out to hang with friends.
On Monday, at a vigil for the teen, dozens of people threw bottles and damaged some stores. Police released surveillance video of two of the convenience stores, where people are seen throwing fruit and stealing. In one, the cashier cowers in a corner as people loot the shop.
Rickford Burke, president of the New York Caribbean Institute and an organizer of Wednesday's vigil, said he condemned the looting. He said the disorderly response came from a deep feeling of frustration in the community that police officers regularly harass and target young black men.
"The police department has proven to be racially inattentive to black communities and this one is no different," he said.
A second cousin of the victim, Ray Charles, said he was devastated to learn of Gray's death — and was still having trouble accepting the NYPD's official version of events.
"My cousin was scared of guns," said Charles, 35. "I honestly just want justice. They didn't need to shoot him like that." Charles did not protest Wednesday night but said he encouraged people to take to the streets.
"The real issue in Brooklyn is cops have been harassing us for a long time," he said. "It needs to stop."
Marc Santia contributed to this story