What to Know
- An emotionally disturbed man was shot and killed in a Brooklyn apartment last month, the NYPD says
- The family of the man were at a meeting at the Brooklyn District Attorney's office on Thursday
- The father of the man said he was "a good person"; his family has questioned the police account of the shooting
The family of a Brooklyn man who was shot and killed by police at his family’s apartment late last month met with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office on Thursday and spoke out about the shooting for the first time.
The 90-minute meeting was to discuss the shooting of 32-year-old Dwayne Jeune, a mentally ill man who was killed by police on July 31 at the Flatbush Gardens apartment he shared with his family.
Jeune’s family says he suffered from schizophrenia and was off his medications when his mother called 911 to report he was being erratic. The family says the deadly shooting was unnecessary.
Police tell a different version of events. They say officers were called to the home and found Jeune to be combative and threatening. Officers tried to use a Taser on him twice, but it didn’t work. That’s when police say Jeune pushed an officer to the ground and stood over him with a carving knife, prompting another officer to open fire.
The Jeune family attorney wouldn’t let them answer questions about the day of the shooting, but his father countered what police are saying about his son.
“My son was a wonderful person. Very wonderful,” Vibert Jeune said. “He had his mental problems, but he loved his mom and he loved his family.”
The family and local officials are calling on the NYPD to reevaluate how officers handle the mentally ill. While some of the officers dispatched that day were specially trained, the officer who fired his weapon was not. (Police said that same officer was involved in a similar police-involved shooting last year.)
Councilman Jumaane Williams, who has been following the case closely, said mentally ill people are not safe when interacting with police.
“I cannot in any good conscience tell anyone in this city if they have an emotionally disturbed person to call 911,” Williams said. “I want to change that.”
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said it is conducting a fair and impartial inquiry into the shooting.
“We were on the scene of the shooting the day it occurred and began our investigation that day,” the office said in a statement. “We are committed to conducting a fair, thorough and impartial inquiry into this matter.”
In a statement Thursday, the NYPD said it continues to train officers to handle people with mental health problems, and that the altercation between Jeune and police is still under investigation.
The department would not comment on allegations Jeune didn’t have a knife when he was shot.