By Carla Zanoni
INWOOD — They marched through the rain, mouths covered with tape bearing the words "mother," "my brother," "my uncle" — descriptors of their relationship to Emmanuel Paulino, the 24-year-old Inwood man who was shot and killed by police this month after he threatened them with a knife.
Dozens of marchers escorted by police filled the streets Wednesday, walking from the scene of the shooting at 121 Vermilyea Ave. to the 34th Precinct on Broadway and West 183rd Street.
The masking tape was an expression of their feeling that police were not listening to how upset they were about the shooting, that they were "unheard," according to Jackie Rodriguez-Jones, 36, a friend of the family and an Inwood resident. She marched wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of Paulino.
"I was with the family as they prepared for the event," she said. "They marched because they want people to know he was somebody in this community that mattered to many and not a nobody."
On Oct. 3, police said they encountered a knife-wielding Paulino when they arrived at his home at approximately 5:37 a.m. A sergeant fired a Taser at Paulino's chest, police said, but then fired their guns when the electric shock failed to subdue him.
"He kept pacing and they all shot him," Paulino's 27-year-old cousin, Alex Candelario, had told the Daily News, saying that police ignored his offers to calm Paulino. "He was walking in circles, not lunging [at police]."
But Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a press conference held after the incident that there was no other choice.
"These officers did everything they could reasonably do...He said 'go ahead, shoot me, I want to die' or words to that effect," Kelly said.
After the march, a group of family members attended the 34th Precinct’s Community Council meeting at the new P.S. 366 Washington Heights Academy building on Sherman Avenue and West 204th Street, blocks away from the shooting scene.
A representative of the family spoke at the meeting and asked police, in Spanish, what would be done about Paulino’s death and how "justice" would be served.
"The loss of any life is a tragedy," 34th Precinct Captain Jose Navarro said. "It’s not easy to respond to a police call and have someone die. It’s not like my officers get dressed in the morning and say, 'Someone is going to die today.' I want us to heal in the community. It behooves us to heal as a community."
The incident is still under investigation, Navarro said at the precinct council meeting.