Residents Slam Cops in Fatal Shooting of East Flatbush Woman

By DNAinfo Staff  on June 15, 2012 1:57pm  | Updated on June 15, 2012 5:59pm

EAST FLATBUSH — Outraged residents denounced the fatal police shooting of a woman in East Flatbush, a day after she was gunned down while recklessly weaving in and out of traffic in a stolen car, authorities said.

Shantel Davis, 23, was killed Thursday after an officer attempted to stop her out-of-control vehicle and fired a single shot into the woman’s chest during a struggle, an NYPD spokesman said.

The wild incident, which occurred in broad daylight about 5:40 p.m. at East 38th Street and Church Avenue, sparked outrage from locals on Friday who called the shooting a case of “murder.”

Davis has a rap sheet that includes a charge of attempted murder and kidnapping for a 2011 incident, according to police sources and the Brooklyn District Attorney's office, and court records show she was set to appear before a judge Friday on the charges.

"The cops have their version, the people on the streets have their version, and the two differ," said Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams Friday morning, near the Church Avenue intersection where the bloody incident unfolded.

"One thing is clear: One person is dead, that person is black, and that person was unarmed. At a minimum, there were department guidelines that were violated."

Davis had been driving the stolen Toyota Camry erratically on Church Avenue Thursday, running red lights and crossing over the double-yellow lines, before undercover officers spotted her, an NYPD spokesman said.

The car ultimately crashed into a minivan headed south into the intersection on East 38th Street, where two officers approached the vehicle, one on each side.

The woman, who moved from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat and back again while trying to fend off the officers, then put the car into reverse and hit the gas, an NYPD spokesman said.

One of the officers opened the driver’s side door with his gun in his hand and, while attempting to put the car into park himself, fired a single shot into the woman’s chest, police said.

Davis was found bleeding profusely on the sidewalk in front of 30 E. 38th St. and taken to Kings County Hospital in critical condition, where she later died.

An angry crowd lingered at the scene immediately after the shooting, calling cops “murderers” and holding signs condemning the killing.

On Friday, protesters again gathered at the site to blast cops' handling of the incident.

"Police can't police themselves," said Chevon Messiah, 27, from East Flatbush, who stood at the scene Friday holding a sign reading: "NYPD Kills! Be afraid, be very afraid," written in red ink.

"I hope it's not procedure to go into a car for a perp, gun facing them, and just shoot. Something's got to be done."

The NYPD took both officers involved in the shooting to Methodist Hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries and released, police said.

The NYPD did not comment on the status of the officers or Davis’s police record.

But police sources said Davis had eight prior arrests, dating back to 2007.

The most recent was a May 2011 incident in which Davis and four other people allegedly tried to rob a man at gunpoint, then threatened to torture him and dragged him from his apartment to a car, according to a criminal complaint from the Brooklyn District Attorney's office.

In the ensuing struggle, the victim tried to escape and was shot in the back and thigh, injuring him seriously enough to send him to the hospital, the criminal complaint said.

Davis was arrested and hit with a slew of charges, including attempted murder, attempted kidnapping, assault, robbery, burglary and criminal possession of a weapon, the Brooklyn DA's office said.

Davis was also arrested in February 2011 for breaking a traffic law, although the details of the case were not immediately clear.

The next month, she was arrested for criminal possession of a weapon, a knife; criminal possession of a controlled substance, marijuana; and reckless driving, police sources said. 

In that case she allegedly threw marijuana out of a car.

The Toyota Camry Davis was driving Thursday was stolen at gunpoint in Brooklyn June 5, police said. The 58-year-old victim of the carjacking identified Davis in a photo lineup, police said.

Neighbors described Davis as a kind-hearted young woman who loved children and was working on her GED.

"Everybody has a past, but that has nothing to do with what took place yesterday afternoon," said Kevin Pierre, 36, who lives near Davis in East Flatbush. "She's the best person you could ever know, a friend to everyone.... I will describe her as a blessing to humanity."

Kelvin Davis, 67, who is not related to Shantel Davis, said his kids grew up with her, and she often visited his grandchild.

"It's a shock to me," Davis said. "It's not the person I know....  What I saw was very nice and very loving."

Shantel Davis' grieving relatives gathered at the family's home late Friday afternoon but declined to speak to reporters.

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