$3 million will go to the family of a teenager shot by police officers in the midst of a mental crisis in a New York home
$3 million in compensation from New York City will be received by the mother of Khiel Coppin, an 18-year-old teenager with mental illness who died in a hail of police bullets after NYPD officers mistook a hairbrush for a gun when responding to his home in Brooklyn.
Five police officers fired 20 bullets and 13 of them hit Coppin on the 12th of November 2007 in front of his house in Bedford-Stuyvesant, in a shootout that caused demonstrations and outrage from criminal justice advocates, remembered Daily News.
The case also drew the attention of the then State Senator Eric Adamsthe city’s current mayor, who suggested that the NYPD was hiding video of the fatal shooting.
“It has been such a long journey. It’s been years,” said the victim’s mother, Denise Owens. “From day one, it was a tough ride. They didn’t want to accept responsibility.” The city agreed to settle the case last week, family attorney Wale Mosaku said.
A lawsuit filed by her languished in state court for more than a decade, and the city won summary judgment to dismiss the case in 2017.
But two years ago, a state appeals panel reversed that decision. and said a jury should determine whether the officers used excessive force. The appeals panel included Sylvia Hines-Radix, whom Mayor Adams appointed to become the city’s corporate counsel after her election in January.
The day of the shooting Coppin’s mother called the Interfaith Medical Center mobile crisis team. around noon to ask for help for her son. The teenager had a history of mental illness and had stopped taking his antipsychotic medication.
A crisis team arrived at her house much later, around 6:30 p.m., but Coppin was no longer there and they left. The teenager returned minutes later and Owens called the police.
“If I had known that this would have been the outcome, perhaps I would have proceeded differently,” the mother commented.
Then-NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly initially said that when police arrived at the apartment they could see Coppin in a hallway with two knives. Officers removed Owens and his 11-year-old daughter from the home, while the mother repeated that her son did not carry a weapon.
As the policemen approached, Coppin brandished the alleged knives and yelled: “Shoot me! Kill me!”, “Come find me! I have a gun!” according to the initial police account. But it was later determined that the object in his hand was a hairbrush.
A spokesman for the city’s Legal Department said Monday that the agreement reached “was in the best interest of all parties.”
Last January, a similar situation had a reverse ending: young hispanic police officers Wilbert Mora y Jason Rivera shot while responding to a call from a mother denouncing domestic violence by her son in Harlem. The case motivated the visit of President Joe Biden to New York to participate in the funerals.