State AG Office: Rochester SWAT team was justified in fatal shooting of Timothy Flowers

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The NY State Attorney General’s Office determined that a Rochester SWAT Team officer was justified in the fatal shooting of Timothy Flowers in June of 2021.

The AG’s office released its report on Friday on its investigation into the killing of Flowers. The report said that Flowers fired at the officers as they were chasing Flowers to arrest him. The conclusion was that the police’s use of deadly force was justifiable.

“After a thorough review of the facts of this incident, we concluded that officers were justified in their conduct in this case,” said Attorney General Letitia James.

Here’s how the shooting unfolded according to the report:

Flowers was a suspect in three shootings in Rochester in May 2021, which occurred days apart from each other. Officers from the Rochester Police Department’s SWAT Team first spotted Flowers in a parking lot and believed it was a good place to catch him without risking the lives of people around. When Flowers started running, the officers followed him into a neighborhood on Avenue D.

Flowers hid behind a house and fired at one of the officers, upon which the SWAT Team members began firing back. One of the officers went to the back of the house and demanded that Flowers drop his gun. When Flowers pointed the gun at the officer, the officer fired and killed him. RPD at the time said that Flowers was shot at least four times and he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Some RPD officers who responded to the shooting wore body cameras, while the officers part of the SWAT Team didn’t. Unlike other officer units, the SWAT Team wasn’t required to wear bodycams at the time. James said that the RPD should provide the SWAT Team members with bodycams for accountability.

“In order to ensure continued transparency, it’s imperative that every law enforcement agency in New York is equipped with body-worn cameras, and we urge the Rochester Police Department to outfit every officer, including members of special teams, with this critical tool,” she said.

The AG’s office report was based on interviews with officers and bystanders, along with reviews of radio transmissions, ballistics testing, and the limited bodycam footage that was available. The office also took crime scene evidence and photos into account.

Flowers was the third person to be killed by Rochester police in the year 2021.

The full report can be read below.