Home > Uncategorized > Mentally Disabled Man Killed By Police for Having a Toy Gun

Mentally Disabled Man Killed By Police for Having a Toy Gun

Mentally ill man killed by police

By: Shani K. Collins, Your Black World

Stories involving the police, guns, and the mentally disabled never seem to unfold just right—and this latest tragedy is no exception.

56-year-old Ernest Vassell, who suffered a head injury as a child, was killed after carrying a fake rifle in North Miami. Vassell’s family members report that he was autistic.  He was reportedly walking around the neighborhood with a toy gun and alarmed his neighbors when he pointed the rifle at a dog.  Not knowing whether the gun was real or fake, the neighbors alerted North Miami authorities.

Eye-witness accounts indicate that the police shouted verbal orders at Vassell, and when he turned around, he was shot.  Vassell was later transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center where he was pronounced dead.  Claire Harding, Vassell’s older sister said to CBS 4: “They murdered him in cold blood for a toy gun!  That’s no reason for you to kill somebody!” The officer who shot Vassell has not been identified, but is on paid leave as the events surrounding the shooting are under investigation.

North Miami police stand by their position that the toy gun closely resembled an authentic rifle.   Vassell’s sisters claim he was not violent, and never owned a toy gun.  “They should train these police officers better.  This is ridiculous; they just go around killing people for nothing,” said Harding who is understandably distraught over her brother’s tragic death.

Shani K. Collins is a freelance writer.  You may visit her at www.shanicollins.com,

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Tim
    September 2, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Incidence like this are going to keep happening until parents across the country unite, This is a nation wide problem. The police agencies nor politicians are going to solve this epidemic.

  2. jerry Washington
    September 3, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Let’s see,a black man with special.needs, carries a fake gun points at a dog…a blady calls the Miami police …the suspect doesn’t cooperate with the Miami police …booomm!!!! …the community is safe from another nut case…thanks Miami..great job!

  3. >:(
    September 4, 2011 at 7:19 am

    This is exactly why Anonymous is protesting in SanFran. Ridiculous! They have to be held accountable for their actions!

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