Photo: The New York Attorney General's Office.
Photo: The New York Attorney General's Office.
Updated: October 13, 2021 06:16 PM
Created: October 13, 2021 03:36 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The New York Attorney General's Office Wednesday released less edited versions of the body-worn camera footage from the deadly officer-involved shooting that happened on W Main Street last week.
The shooting happened on Oct. 6 at the Family Dollar store. At around 9:30 p.m. police were called for a robbery in progress. Police say the suspect showed a gun to the clerk and demanded money, and that when police arrived, he was standing there, waiting for a timer on the store's safe to go off.
When officers arrived, the suspect tried to run, the responding officers chased him, the suspect fired, and then police returned fire. The suspect was killed. On Oct. 7, police said the man who was killed was a suspect in three recent homicides.
On Tuesday, the Rochester Police Department released the footage, including annotations and pauses, as well as a timeline of the incident and a message from the family of 24-year-old Simran S. Gordon, the man who police say was killed in the shooting.
Gordon's family told News10NBC on Tuesday night that they wanted an unedited, unredacted version of the footage released. His family also said they don't believe the footage RPD released on Tuesday supports the department's narrative of what happened.
Gordon's cousin, Antonia Wynter, said the only shooting in the video that she saw she saw came from the police.
"There was never any return fire, and there was never a gun," Wynter said. "They presented pictures of a gun, and I asked them if there was forensics. There's no forensics that linked the bullets that they found in the store to the gun that they claim that was found on this individual's body."
But Rochester Police investigators told News10NBC Wednesday a weapon was recovered and is going through ballistics. They also said there were six people inside the Family Dollar when the shooting happened. Some of them are visible in the body camera footage. All of them have provided statements to RPD.
The Attorney General's Office is investigating the shooting, per state law.
It released the footage from both officers' body-worn cameras as separate videos. Peoples' faces are blurred in the videos, which the Attorney General's Office says is required by policy.
Editor's Note: These videos are graphic in nature and may be disturbing to some. Viewer discretion is advised. (Mobile users, click here to watch).
The videos released Wednesday are longer, and show more police, EMTs and firefighters arrive and start CPR on Gordon. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Dr. Cedric Alexander, a national law enforcement expert who is also a former Rochester Police chief weighed in on the footage Wednesday.
He said to him, this is a clear-cut case of officers protecting and serving their community.
"Many people try to make more out of this than what it is, sometimes it's just what it is, and this is a case, it is what it is," Alexander said. "And based on what we know at this moment is what we clearly see in that video is officers doing everything they could to protect people inside that store and protect themselves after being fired upon."
He continued, "These officers, appear to have operated well within the rights of the law, in what they're required to do and how they're required to respond and how they are trained."
Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan Wednesday morning released the following response to criticisms about how long it took for the department to release its body camera video:
In today’s Democrat and Chronicle, Conor Reynolds, Executive Director of the Police Accountability Board is quoted as stating:
Police Accountability Board executive director Conor Dwyer Reynolds said RPD's delayed release of the footage was problematic. It was delayed for the "sake of producing highly edited 'critical incident videos' like the one released today,"
This is simply not correct. First, the video had to be redacted, which takes time. The Law Dept. must then review it. When Mr. Gordon’s mother was initially offered the option to view the video, she declined. When we learned that she changed her mind and wanted to view it, instead of releasing it on Monday, I made the decision to delay it until Tuesday so the Attorney General’s Office could have her view it before it was made public.
These videos are a critical tool in ensuring the public has an accurate picture of the incidents that occur in our community. Members of the community can then make their own assessment. We should all be striving toward this goal.
Rochester Police Department - Chief of Police
The Rochester Police Locust Club sent the following statement:
“We commend the bravery and professionalism of those officers involved last week in stopping a violent robbery in progress. They put their lives on the line for others when a violent individual made the choice to commit multiple crimes, including shooting at them.
Some City Council members have now started to release statements that try to support the officers’ heroic actions. Others didn’t even bother addressing the community about two young officers nearly being murdered. These politicians have agendas and have lost sight of the fact that an armed robber targeted community members and tried to kill a cop in this city. There should be no agendas, there should be no sides – everyone should be outraged by this brazen act.
The City Council statements talk about the complexity of police-community relations. They fail to take ownership for their contribution when they turned their backs on officers and on community members facing unprecedented levels of violent crime. City Council members should be about this community and not about agendas. They need to start listening to the victims in this city and stop pandering for politics.”
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