New York City police arrested at least 46 people late Wednesday during a third night of angry protests following the shooting death of 16-year-old Kimani Gray.
Gray was reportedly shot dead Saturday by two plainclothes police officers. The police pursued Gray after he broke away from a group of young people as they approached. According to the NYPD, the teen pointed a .38-caliber revolver at the officers and was warned to "freeze" before he was shot. A loaded gun was recovered at the scene, police say.
The results of an autopsy released Wednesday show that Gray was hit by gunfire seven times, three times in the back. On Tuesday a woman who claimed to have "a bird's-eye view" of the incident told the New York Daily News that Gray was unarmed. "I'm certain he didn't have anything in his hands," hospital clerk Tishana King, 39, told the Daily News.
On Monday night, after a vigil for Gray, violence and looting occurred in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. The Church Farm Market was ransacked by a mob that stole money and destroyed produce. At U Farm Land, CBS New York reports, "more produce was thrown and $1,000 from the register and flowers were taken."
The Wall Street Journal reports that "a large contingent" swarmed the local Rite-Aid store Monday, where the protesters "smashed through displays, stole items and at least one person attempted to steal a cash register." A customer who intervened in the attempted register heist was beaten, a city bus had its windows smashed, and two arrests were made. The chaos was filmed on a surveillance tape.
Police made one arrest Tuesday night after a small group braved rain to protest outside the local police precinct.
On Wednesday evening a vigil was followed by the largest confrontation with police yet. The crowd—emboldened and angered by the autopsy report and the witness statement denying Gray was armed—marched to the local police precinct. Among the scores of people arrested was Gray's sister. A policeman was struck in the head by a brick, the Daily News reported.
The police officers involved in the shooting have not been identified. The New York Post, which refers to Gray as a member of the infamous Bloods gang, reports that the officers are both minorities. "One, a sergeant, is a dark-skinned Egyptian who identifies himself as black. He fired four times. The other, a Hispanic officer, fired seven times," according to the Post.
As is characteristic of inner city riots, local store owners fear property damage and violence at the hands of citizens allegedly upset by the shooting. "I'm scared for everything, myself, my store, my workers," Deli, Grill & Grocery owner Salm Sami told the Daily News. "This is three days of this."
The traditional leaders of protests that follow racial controversy—including Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton—have been relatively quiet, for now.
Last year Sanford, Fla., became the epicenter of nationwide protests after the Feb. 26 shooting death of black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was killed following a scuffle with volunteer neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who is Hispanic. Zimmerman is currently on trial for second-degree murder, but was not initially arrested.
Following national news coverage of the Martin case, racial violence apparently connected to the case occurred in several parts of the country. "Justice for Trayvon!" shouted one of the 20-or-so African-American men who attacked a 40-year-old white Alabama man.
As with the Trayvon Martin case, the decision of newspapers to report—or not report—unflattering details about the life of the dead teenager may stoke controversy and debate. Gray, like Martin, has a less-than-pristine record, which according to the Post includes arrests for grand larceny and possession of stolen property.
Watch: Footage of Monday looting: