A Bronx teenager whom the police said to have fallen off from the roof of a six-story apartment building on Thursday while fleeing police officers died of his injuries on Saturday at St. Barnabas Hospital, the police said.
Authorities said Hakeem Kuta, 17, was with a group of other teenagers who were smoking marijuana Thursday evening in the lobby of the apartment building at 2685 Valentine Avenue in the Bronx. A man who exited the building complained to four uniformed officers, who then entered the lobby. When Mr. Kuta and several others ran to the roof, two officers chased them.
All but Mr. Kuta and a 14-year-old were able to elude the police. Mr. Kuta tried to step over a short wall at the edge of the building but stumbled, officials said, but undisclosed source said the 17-year old was pushed by the police.
Meanwhile Police Department said that the officers appeared to have acted appropriately. After Mr. Kuta fell, officers raced from the roof to give first aid, officials said. Officer Maria Imburgia applied chest compressions until paramedics arrived.
Officers made no arrests on Thursday evening, though marijuana wasn’t found in the lobby.
Marijuana arrests have plummeted since November, when Mayor Bill de Blasio instituted a policy making possession of 25 grams or less punishable with a ticket, not criminal charges. People who are caught smoking marijuana in public, though, still face arrest.
Mr. Kuta had no criminal record, officials said. A relative, Abdallah Dopo, said the teenager had been born in Ghana and had moved to the United States about three or four years ago with his parents and a younger sister.
*insert picture – late Hakeem Kuta