Ortanzso (Marlon) Bovell was shot and killed by police in 2008, and according to his family his best friend, Saheed Vassell, never recovered after that, sliding into a deep depression over the loss.
“Seriously that was the last moment in time I remember him happy,” Bovell’s sister Leesh told the New York Daily News. “He wasn’t an angry person. He was depressed mentally. They were friends forever. He hasn’t been the same since Marlon died.”
Bovell was killed when he tried to speed away from police in a stolen car and hit NYPD Inspector John Chell in the attempted escape. Chell’s gun reportedly went off when he fell. Bovell was struck in the back when the bullet passed through the window of the car.
Then, ten years later, Saheed Vassell was killed by the NYPD as well. Police were reportedly responding to reports of a man brandishing a firearm and shot Vassell when he pointed the metal object at them.
That metal object turned out to be a pipe.
Now, as members of the community come to terms with yet another Black man shot down by police, leaders and activists are pointing out the long-term effects of these shootings.
“Saheed’s mental illness started at the hands of police officers shooting an unarmed black man and Saheed’s life ended by the shooting of a police officer and he was an unarmed black man,” City Councilwoman Alicka Samuel said during a community meeting on Saturday.
In other words, the constant police shootings are killing Black people in more ways than one—their friends and family are losing their mental and emotional security.