CONGRESSWOMAN SHEILA JACKSON LEE URGES THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO INVESTIGATE THE KILLING OF SAHEED VASSELL
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Robin K. Chand
April 6, 2018 202-225-3816
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
Urges the United States Department of Justice to Investigate the Killing of Saheed Vassell
Jackson Lee: “Law enforcement is a difficult job. All stakeholders in the community must ensure that honest police officers, as well as those whom they protect and serve, can live free from fear of physical harm or danger.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, senior Member of the House Committees on Budget, Judiciary and Homeland Security, and Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, released this statement following the death of Saheed Vassell:
“The killing of Saheed Vassell by law enforcement is sad and regrettable. All who support law enforcement realize that their job is difficult. This particular incident, however, raises troubling questions about the adequacy of the N.Y.P.D.’s de-escalation policies and training. For example, it has been reported that Mr. Vassell was known to be mentally-ill by many members of the community as well as by law enforcement. Further, this particular shooting involved plainclothes officers and this fact, when confronting a mentally-ill person, has the potential to exacerbate an already combustible situation. This killing is yet another in a recent string of officer-involved shootings, all of which have renewed the call for greater training for police when responding to situations involving mental health, sensitivity to hyper-dangerous situations, added training for plainclothes officers, and de-escalation of volatile incidents.
“Law enforcement is a difficult job. All stakeholders in the community must ensure that honest police officers, as well as those whom they protect and serve, can live free from fear of physical harm or danger. I look forward to reviewing the findings of the New York Attorney General following a thorough investigation of this matter, and have called upon the United States Department of Justice to determine if the local police violated Saheed Vassell’s civil rights.”
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is a Democrat from Texas’s 18th Congressional District. She is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security and is a Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.