The family of a Barbadian husband and father living in New York plan to sue that city’s police department after the shooting and death of their main breadwinner.
Hayden Blackman, a 43-year-old resident of Rochester, New York, died in the early hours last Friday, after being shot several times by a “trigger happy” police officer Randy Book the night before.
Police say Hayden Blackman was killed around 11:30 Thursday night but officers were actually first called to his apartment around 11 p.m. Thursday night because Blackman’s stepchildren — a 16-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl — were fighting. Police thought the situation was under control and left but a half an hour later, two officers were sent back to the apartment.
When the two officers walked up to the upstairs apartment, police say Blackman was threatening his 16-year-old stepson with a six-inch folding knife. One of the officer’s told Blackman to drop the knife several times. Police say he refused. Police say next, Blackman then raised the knife to shoulder level and moved toward his stepson. That officer confronted him, Blackman turned to face the officer and that’s when police say Officer Randy Book fired several shots at Blackman.
Blackman’s family cannot believe he’s gone and they want answers from the Rochester Police Department. They say Blackman was punched in the face by his 16-year-old stepson and say he had a knife only to protect himself.
Blackman’s wife, Roxanne Williams Blackman, and her two children watched this unfold right before their eyes. “I’m feeling empty inside. He was a good man, a very, very good man.”
Williams Blackman says her husband should not be dead. She says he didn’t lunge at police or threaten them in any way.
She says her husband took a knife out during a feud with her son. She says he was trying to make a point that her son’s behavior could get him in trouble. Williams Blackman says it was her son who would not listen and was out of order. She says her daughter called police because her daughter was afraid.
When police arrived, Williams Blackman says her husband never had a chance. She says the officer demanded he put down the knife and within seconds she says shots rang out. She thinks the officer acted out of fear. “My husband is from Barbados so he has dreads so naturally always think any Black American with dreads, West Indian, they’re not just straight and narrow. So he probably felt intimidated by that. “He (Officer Book) was afraid, yes. I think he was afraid. But he didn’t have to go to that extreme. Five shots, three of them hit him. It wasn’t necessary.”
The family now want justice for what they consider the actions of a renegade cop.