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What you need to know for 12/14/2017

Schenectady DA takes Troy shooting investigation

Schenectady DA takes Troy shooting investigation

Rensselaer County DA had recused his office
Schenectady DA takes Troy shooting investigation
William Felder leads a large demonstration last month in Troy.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER

SCHENECTADY — The Schenectady County District Attorney's Office is taking over the investigation into the Aug. 15 police shooting in Troy, District Attorney Robert Carney confirmed.

Carney spoke with Rensselaer County Court Judge Debra Young earlier this week and accepted the assignment, he said.

The assignment comes after Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove recused his office from the investigation into the non-fatal shooting of Dahmeek McDonald. Abelove cited pending cases involving the officer who fired, Jarrod Iler, as the reason for stepping away.

Iler opened fire on McDonald on Aug. 15. McDonald was hit but survived. Police later said they could find no evidence that McDonald was armed during the incident.

Carney said he has assigned the head of his major crimes bureau, Amy Burock, to oversee the investigation, with prosecutor Kyle Petit assisting. 

Petit came to the Schenectady County District Attorney's Office from the Rensselaer County DA's office.

Carney could not offer a timetable for how long the investigation will take. He noted his office is just beginning its work.

Police were seeking McDonald, 22, on a warrant for fleeing parole at the time of the shooting. They located him in a car on Eighth Street the evening of Aug. 15.

Iler, a five-year veteran of the force, fired at McDonald, striking him once in the shoulder and grazing his head. McDonald survived, was treated at Albany Medical Center and was released to parole custody at the Rensselaer County jail, authorities have said.

The shooting touched off a large demonstration led by McDonald's uncle, Messiah Cooper, the day after the shooting. Cooper met with Troy Mayor Patrick Madden during the rally.

The shooting of McDonald did not meet requirements for the state Attorney General's Office to take the case. The attorney general is now able to investigate incidents in which unarmed individuals are shot and killed by police.

A dispute between Abelove and the Attorney General's Office erupted after Troy police Sgt. Randy French shot and killed Edson Thevenin, 37, during an April 17, 2016, traffic stop.

Abelove initially presented the case to a grand jury, which declined to indict the officer. But the Attorney General's Office stepped in and sued, arguing Abelove violated the order that allows the state office to take such investigations.

The Attorney General's Office investigation into Thevenin's death continues, as does as an investigation into potential interference by Abelove, state officials said. Abelove denies wrongdoing.

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