Schenectady County

NAACP head has shooting questions

The head of the local NAACP wants to know what the city police department’s policy is regarding how

The head of the local NAACP wants to know what the city police department’s policy is regarding how many shots are needed to subdue an armed suspect.

The Rev. Ted Ward also wants to know the policy on how officers determine they have a clear shot at a suspect, to minimize danger to civilians.

Ward asked the questions Tuesday when contacted by The Daily Gazette and while making clear that his organization is not passing judgment on the number of shots fired by the three officers at the suspect Friday on Grove Place or their decision to fire.

In all, the three officers fired 14 shots at 32-year-old suspect Luis Rivera. Rivera died soon after from his wounds. No bystanders were hit.

“Our concern would be the number of shots fired at this individual and getting more of an understanding on what the determination is for the number of shots being fired at any individual,” Ward said Tuesday. “What determines how many times? What is police policy?”

At the same time, Ward said he has come to no conclusions and is waiting on the results of the police investigation. He also noted that police say that the individual had a gun and that he was a potential threat to officers and civilians around him.

Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett, through a secretary, declined any further comment on the case Tuesday. The Daily Gazette also left a message with Bennett later concerning Ward’s questions.

At a Friday evening press conference, Police Chief Mark Chaires told reporters that everything appeared to be within police policy.

Chaires also attempted to address any issues with the officers’ line of fire.

Chaires said then that officers are trained only to fire when they have a clear shot. Bennett added then that although shooting on a busy street was dangerous, allowing Rivera to shoot would have been even worse.

Police on Friday said the shooting took place after Rivera waved a gun at the officers.

Patrol car cameras captured much of the incident, authorities said, although they would not describe what the cameras caught. Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney and Bennett have said the video appears to substantiate the officers’ description of the incident.

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