Independent journalist Ryan Devereaux interviewed 39-year-old Tishana King, the only known eyewitness to the police killing of 16-year-old Kimani Gray in East Flatbush last weekend, revealing new and disturbing details about Gray’s last moments of life.
King, who witnessed the entire encounter from her third story bedroom window, told the New York Daily News last week that she was “certain [Gray] didn’t have anything in his hands” when he was shot, casting doubt on police claims that Gray pointed a revolver at the officers, forcing them to open fire. She also said Gray was “backing up” when “The cop took out his gun and started firing.”
In her extended interview with Devereaux (whose coverage of Gray’s shooting and protests for the Village Voice is a must read), King elaborates on what she witnessed that night.
She says that one of the officers who shot Gray continued to shoot while the teen was on the ground. According to the state’s autopsy report, Gray was shot seven times (three times in the back), so this is completely plausible.
King also reaffirmed her earlier statement that Gray never pointed a gun at the police, saying, ”I can’t say if they had one on them or not, but no one had a gun pointing at the cops.”
The most horrific aspect of the interview is King’s description of Gray crying in pain as he lay on the ground begging for his life:
After the gunfire subsided, King claims the officer who “did the most shooting” put his hands on his head “like, ‘Oh my God.’” She describes him as “the main shooter.”
“That’s the one I was focused on,” she explained. “He just kept shooting while [Gray] was on the ground.” When asked how close the officer was when he was shooting Gray, King said, “right over him.”
“I thought he was dead,” King said. That’s when Gray began to scream. “‘Help me. Help me. My stomach is burning. Help me. They shot me,’” she said the teen cried out. Friends have said Gray was approximately 5’6″ and weighed at most about 100 pounds. King described him as “frail” and said she was surprised he was not killed instantly. “I didn’t think anybody could take those amount of bullets,” she added.
Outraged by what she saw, King shouted out of her window at the police. The shooting officer responded by threatening to shoot her:
“I just remember screaming out the window ‘Why?! Why so much?!” King recalled. She claims the “main shooter”‘s partner–”with the short haircut”–responded.
“He started waving his gun up at our windows, myself and my neighbor. ‘Get your F-ing head out the window before I shoot you.’” King said she and her neighbor “jumped back.”
“I told the authorities that,” she said. “You threatened our lives and we didn’t even do anything.”
The officers, identified as Sgt. Mourad Mourad, 30, and Officer Jovaniel Cordova, 26, have been placed on desk duty until the investigation into Gray’s death is complete.
According to court records, both have been accused of civil rights violations in five federal lawsuits, costing the city $215,000 in settlements.
“In each case, Mourad and Cordova attempted to cover up their misconduct by falsifying and fabricating evidence,” the lawyer who filed four of the five lawsuits told the New York Daily News.
Sgt. Mourad is accused in one of the lawsuits of an illegal stop and frisk that landed an innocent man in Rikers Island for four months. Another complaint alleges that Mourad and others pulled a man’s pants and underwear down during a frisk.
Allegations against Officer Cordova include handcuffing a driver by shoving him facedown into a puddle during a car stop and punching a man in the face during an illegal stop, resulting in three stitches.
Furthermore, both officers have been awarded for their involvement in past non-fatal shootings.