Pressure is mounting on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James to launch an outside investigation into a fatal police-involved shooting in Westchester.
Police in New Rochelle attempted to stop a vehicle in which 24-year-old city resident Kamal Flowers shortly before 11 p.m. on Friday, June 5. When the vehicle stopped, Flowers took off on foot fleeing at the intersection of Potter Avenue and Pierce Street.
It is alleged that after a struggle with officers, Flowers displayed a handgun and attempted to fire, at which point one of the officers shot him. Flowers was treated at the scene and died en route to the hospital.
Following the shooting, there was a call for an outside investigation, but according to multiple reports, Attorney General Letitia James will not be investigating Flowers’ death as it falls outside her office's jurisdiction. The case is primarily being investigated by the Westchester County District Attorney's Office.
In the wake of the announcement that James’ office would not be investigating, there has been a call by elected officials, the community, and other organizations for an outside investigation.
“Particularly in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, as so many people are marching for justice peacefully, our community, and our district deserve a thorough and independent investigation that local law enforcement may not be able to carry out completely in this environment,” Congressman Eliot Engel said. “The involvement of the Attorney General and her office is vital to providing impartial answers to the community, and ensuring justice in this case.”
Earlier this week, crowds, led by the New Rochelle branch of the NAACP, gathered at New Rochelle City Hall demanding a special prosecutor to handle the investigation. The Interreligious Council of New Rochelle also called for “fairer and unbiased policing.”
“We believe an investigation by the AG's Office will lead to transparency,” they wrote in a letter to Cuomo this week. “Only then can we know if the pleas of our neighbors for a new era have begun. People of color, people of all colors, deserve the whole truth in this matter.”
On Friday, June 12, a new protest march is reportedly scheduled to be held at 2 p.m. beginning from Hartley Park and marching to Lincoln Park in New Rochelle.
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