Family gears up for legal battle over fatal police-involved shooting

Posted: Updated:
BROOKLYN -

The family of a Crown Heights man who was shot and killed by NYPD officers is filing a summons of complaint in the case, the first step in what their lawyer says will be a legal battle.

It's been one year since Saheed Vassell was shot and killed by officers. Police had received a report of a man threatening people with a gun, but it turned out to be a metal pipe. Vassell had bipolar disorder, according to his family.

Attorney General Letitia James declined to charge the officers involved in the shooting.

Scott Rynecki, the attorney for the Vassell family, says they are preparing a civil suit and a jury will decide how much money in damages the family could receive. He says it's not about the money, but about making the city safer.

A report from James' office recommended critical incident training for 911 operators and police dispatchers after the incident.

"When they distributed the information to the police department and EMS, they put this out as a firearm job, rather than putting it out as a possible gun," says Rynecki. "There was no definitive finding that anyone called in and said that this man had a gun."

Rynecki says they will have more information from the jury about the civil case within a month.

MORE COVERAGE: Rally marks 1 year since shooting of Crown Heights man by police
Police officers involved in fatal shooting of mentally ill man will not be charged 
Community asks NYPD for more info on Vassell shooting 
Sharpton calls for answers in BK police-involved shooting 

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."