NYPD officials refuted a report Friday that a black Staten Island teenager who suffers from asthma collapsed and died after being chased by a mostly white group who shouted racial slurs at him.
The Daily News reported 16-year-old Dayshen McKenzie died last Friday after he and his friends were chased by the group that hurled racial slurs at him after an argument.
A former police officer, Diane Fatigati, said she tried to revive the dying teen. She told NBC 4 New York Friday she initially believed the fight was racially motivated because "you see three black kids running down the street and a bunch of white kids chasing them, saying, 'Crips and motherf-er, the N-word, I'm going to shoot you' what else are you going to think?"
She said the group chasing McKenzie and his friends consisted of young white males and one Hispanic male, and two of the cars had Pennsylvania plates.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said during a news conference Friday that Fatigati has since recanted her story, and investigators believe race was likely not an aggravating factor.
"This was a scheduled street encounter between two rival groups," he said.
The confrontation began at a Checkers restaurant.
Fatigati said the boy's closed, and when she felt for a pulse, "he was gone again."
The boy's mother, who also suffers from asthma, said she was told by detectives that it appears the condition played a role.
"They said he died of natural causes, there was no foul play," said Tisha Richardson. "And it was -- he died from asthma."
"He was just loved by so many people," she added in tears.
The investigation into the boy's death is ongoing, police said.