There was a riot going on in Brooklyn last night (Monday, March 11). Following a candlelight vigil for Kimani 'Kiki' Gray, a 16-year-old teen shot and killed by NYPD cops, mourners clashed with authorities, reportedly hurling rocks, and trashcans, at police and destroying cars and store fronts.
Gray was killed on Saturday (March 9) on E. 52nd St. and Tilden Ave, the same place where the vigil was held. NYPD contends that Gray had a handgun, a claim which his family disputes. A .38 caliber revolver was found at the scene.
According to the New York Daily News, after yesterday's vigil, which started around 7 p.m., a protest march commenced towards the 67th Precint in East New York, which was about 20 blocks away.
However, the peaceful march began spinning out of control when a group split off, at about 8:30 p.m., reports DNAInfo, and began smashing car windows and storefronts, according to witnesses on the scene. "I was sitting in my living room," Mary John, 43, told the NY Daily News. "People were standing up on vehicles. I saw them take garbage from the sidewalk and throw it onto the street. I saw someone take a TV and smash it into my neighbor's car. They were throwing rocks at the cars."
There are various accounts of rioters assaulting innocent people and businesses for no good reason, including African Movies on Church Ave, whose employees were forced to lock themselves in the store.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is running for NYC mayor, came through after the carnage was finished commented. "I understand if young people are frustrated, but we have to help them understand the way to deal with it should be a peaceful way," he said. "They have every right to protest — that's the American way."
Unfortunately, there is allegedly evidence (from a "police source") that Gray was a member of the Bloods street gang. The NY Daily News reports:
Before the riot Monday, a police source told The News that investigators believe Kimani was a member of the Bloods street gang. The source pointed to two YouTube videos, published last year, that featured violence between Bloods and Crips. The source said Kimani appears in both videos, which The News has refrained from publishing due to graphic content.
In one video, Kimani is clad in a red Adidas hoodie and goes by the nickname “Shapow,” the source said. He can be seen taunting and hitting a 13-year-old rival on Nostrand Ave. near Glenwood Rd. in Flatbush after the adversary flashed gang signs and said he runs with the Crips.
Kimani also swiped a beaded necklace from the Crip and then stomped on it, the video shows, while his friends in the background identified themselves as Bloods.
The second video captured an apparent Crips retaliation following the smackdown. A group of self-identified Crips stormed a McDonald's on Utica Ave. and Ave. H in Flatbush after they spotted Kimani and other alleged Bloods inside, according to the video.
After a minute of heckling and heated exchanges inside the McDonald's, the Crips retreated outside. They mocked Kimani for refusing to come out into the parking lot.
Seems like there is way more to this story. Last night, the hashtag #brooklyriot was trending on Twitter. Check out photos of yesterday's riot, or protest, depending on your perspective, in the gallery.
Photos: New York Daily News, DNAInfo