In a twist that may go down as the most disturbing case of police brutality in modern American history, a white New York City police officer fatally shot a black man on social media in front of his family after the suspect called 911 to say he had a gun.
Police say the incident began when the officer, identified by New York’s public broadcaster as Officer Robert Pontecorvo, tried to stop the man for a traffic violation.
But after he failed to stop, the officer opened fire, killing the man.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the officer’s actions “should have been captured on video, but that wasn’t what happened,” as the officer had no choice but to shoot the man, the New York Post reported.
The shooting came after a year-long investigation by the NYPD, and came amid a growing national outcry over police violence against black men and the killing of unarmed black men in police custody.
The officer, who is white, is charged with manslaughter.
He was not charged with murder, which is a federal crime.
After the shooting, de Blasio’s office said that the police department had opened an internal investigation and that a review would look at the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
De Blasio’s spokesman said in a statement that the mayor would not release any information that would “conflict with the ongoing internal investigation.”
Police said that they were conducting an internal review into the shooting that took place on Wednesday.
In a statement on Wednesday, De Blasio said that he had spoken with PonteCorvo and that the officer has been placed on administrative leave.
“While I cannot speak to any specifics at this time, I want to reiterate that the city’s officers are held to the highest standards, and they are fully accountable to the community for their actions,” de Blasio wrote.
“Any actions that undermine that trust will not be tolerated.”
Delegate Alissa Slotnick said that she and her family were “heartbroken” by the shooting and that she was calling for justice for the victim.
“I know the police officers were scared for their lives,” she told reporters.
“But it is also the families of the men who were murdered, who are also afraid, and I am hoping the investigation will bring accountability.”