Early Monday morning NYPD officers murdered Eudes Pierre, a 26-year-old Black man, in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. He studied and played basketball at CUNY College of Staten Island, and worked as an UberEATS driver, helping his family pay rent.
Officers from the 71st precinct showed up in response to a 911 call indicating that, “a man with a knife and gun was pacing back and forth yelling and talking to himself.” NYPD officers arrived and chased Pierre, then tasered him, which police claim had no effect. At a press briefing a few hours later, Assistant Chief Michael Kemper claims that Pierre did not drop the knife when directed to and charged at the officers on the scene, which was their “excuse” to murder him. The police recovered a small kitchen knife with a pink handle. Bodycam footage has not yet been released to back up the officers’ claims that they “feared for their lives.”
Now NYPD is claiming that their murder was a “suicide by cop.” A “police source” alleges that Pierre made the call himself and that a suicide note was found in his home. We should be skeptical of these claims, since the police are known to lie to cover up their murders. Only a few months ago, in the murder of Mike Rosado by an off-duty NYPD officer in the Bronx, body footage eventually disproved police claims that Rosado had a gun.
But even if there was a suicide note, this does not excuse police murdering Black people, again and again, with impunity. It doesn’t change the fact that this was a murder by the police, who shot a man in distress multiple times.
According to his mother and brother, Pierre had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and needed proper mental health treatment, not murderous cops. As his mother, Marguerite Jolivert, said: “That should be the first thing that happened — always make sure there’s a mental health person to address the situation.” The fact that, according to police, Pierre had made two previous suicide attempts, shows that having the cops deal with mental health crisises (and that we have a for-profit healthcare system) is not the answer.
This is far from a rare incident for the murderous NYPD. The lawyer for Pierre’s family, Sanford Rubenstein, told a local newspaper, “‘NYPD, don’t kill the mentally ill’ has been a rallying cry of New Yorkers for some time in our city. The death of Eudes Pierre is not the first time in this city a mentally ill person has been killed by a member of the NYPD.”
We need a mass movement of workers and the oppressed to stand up to police violence against Black and Brown communities and the capitalist system they protect. Reforming the police is not enough — we’ve seen time and time again that it’s not just one or two “bad apples,” it’s the whole system. Justice for Eudes Pierre!