WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - Friends and family of Jonathan Maldonado came together on Wednesday night in Hartsdale to celebrate the life of the man who killed following a shoplifting incident last week.
The well-wishers gathered at the intersection of Central Park Avenue and Harvard Drive - near the Best Buy he was accused of shoplifting from - on Wednesday night for the vigil, where they swapped stories and told tales of Maldonado’s life.
Maldonado - Yonkers City Council Presidet-elect Mike Khader’s nephew - died after being tasered by Greenburgh police following a struggle with officers. He had been accused of stealing from Best Buy on Central Avenue.
At approximately 5:50 p.m. on Nov. 29, police said that officers were called to the Best Buy location following reports of a larceny in progress. Upon arrival, officers allegedly found Maldonado struggling with Best Buy security officials near Webb Field. Police officers were forced to use a taser to subdue him, he was then handcuffed.
Maldonado allegedly ingested several packets of an undisclosed substance before he was apprehended.
While in handcuffs, police said that Maldonado began to lose consciousness, and was treated by officers and EMS at the scene. He went into cardiac arrest in an ambulance and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital an hour later. Three officers suffered minor injuries during the scuffle.
The incident is being actively investigated by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office. Attorney Randolph McLaughlin has placed the blame on the Greenburgh Police Department, saying they "violently mishandled" the situation.
“It's clear from the first statements put out by the Greenburgh Police Department that they want to place the blame squarely on Mr. Maldonado for causing his own death," he said in a statement. “However, the first witness accounts we are hearing tell a very different story of who shoulders that responsibility - the store employees who pursued him and the police who violently mishandled the situation.”
In a statement, Khader asked for privacy as they grieve and continue to learn details of the incident.
“My family suffered the tragic loss of my nephew," Khader said in a statement last week. "We are communicating with law enforcement and still learning the details of what took place. Please respect my family's privacy during this difficult time.”
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