Kimani Gray: Another NYPD Usual Suspect?

Amid conflicting reports, some wonder if the teen is the latest innocent black male to be killed by cops.

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Coates uses the recent stop-and-frisk of Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker at an Upper West Side deli as a prime example that black males are confronted with unreasonable prejudice regardless of their station in life. The arrest of Harvard professor (and editor-in-chief of The Root) Henry Louis Gates Jr. and violent death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin are further examples of innocent African-American males targeted for the color of their skin alone. And as Coates argues, the problem is more than skin-deep.

Kimani Gray's death is worrisome mostly because of the NYPD's dark history on matters of racial violence -- leaving members of the community to wonder about the veracity of the department's version of events and to question if a gun was planted on the teenager to justify the shooting. Brooklyn residents, many of whom seek an end to the all-too-common violence experienced by black and brown people at the hands of New York's law-enforcement officers, have found a new martyr to give voice to an old cause and have taken to the streets to protest.

City Councilman Jumaane Williams addressed the deep-seated resentment at the heart of the demonstrations in a statement: "This action, which some are calling an uprising, was not about the details of one shooting; it spoke to the overwhelming frustration that people are living through day after day."

Edward Wyckoff Williams is a contributing editor at The Root. He is a columnist and political analyst, appearing on Al-Jazeera, MSNBC, ABC, CBS Washington and national syndicated radio. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Kimani Gray Protest and Vigil Photos

Protests and arrests after the killing of a Brooklyn, N.Y., teen by police, caught on camera.

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