ABC Uses Clip of Woman Slamming Police: 'I Feel Like I Could Kill Them Myself'

April 6th, 2018 11:08 AM

On Thursday's World News Tonight, ABC correspondent Linsey Davis actually included a clip of a woman declaring that she felt like "killing" the police in a report about a mentally ill man who was tragically killed by police after he pointed a metal pipe at them while pretending that it was a gun.

Substitute host Tom Llamas introduced the report by recalling that, in Brooklyn, "Police -- responding to 911 calls of a man with a gun -- opening fire when they mistook the metal pipe he was holding for a weapon." Still shots were shown of the man in question, Saheed Vassell, provocatively pointing a pipe at several different apparent strangers on the street as if it were a gun.

Davis began the report with surveillance video of Vassell walking along and then aiming the pipe as if it were gun right before being killed as she narrated: "This is the image of the shooting that has many in this Brooklyn, New York, community up in arms tonight after police fatally shot this man."

Then came audio of police being informed by radio that there was a 911 report of a man "pointing a gun at people."

The report then showed several different surveillance video clips of Vassell approaching people on the street and pointing the pipe at them like a gun. After recalling that police shot him between seven and nine times, she added: "Turns out he was unarmed and mentally ill. What they thought was a gun was actually this silver pipe."

Then came a clip of Vassell's aunt making incendiary comments: "I'm angry at the police. I feel like I could kill them myself."

Davis noted that at least some of the police officers in the area were aware of Vassell's mental disorder, although she did not address whether there was any reasonable way that he could have been identified ahead of time so responding officers would know who they were dealing with and his circumstances, considering that the person who made the 911 call might have been a total stranger who could not have informed police of exactly who he was. 

Davis: "And while he was known among residents and police, the responding officers were from a specialized unit that had no idea of his history."

The ABC correspondent concluded by informing viewers that "a large crowd has gathered demanding justice," and noted that the state attorney general was investigating the matter.