NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Family and friends of the man who was shot and killed by a New Rochelle police officer Friday after he ran from a traffic stop are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to have the state's attorney general investigate the man's death. At a news conference in front of New Rochelle City Hall Wednesday, Minister Mark McLean, the president of the NAACP New Rochelle Branch, said Kamal Flowers' young life was terminated by a bullet.
"His family and community are gripped by fear," he said, "and left suffocating in a sea of uncertainty."
McLean said Cuomo should appoint Attorney General Letitia James as a special prosecutor so she can conduct an independent investigation of the events that led to Flowers' death.
A spokesperson for James said Tuesday that the death of Flowers fell outside the jurisdiction of the attorney general, because the executive order Cuomo signed a few years before applied to the deaths of unarmed civilians caused by law enforcement officers.
The order also allows a special prosecutor to review cases where there is a question about whether the civilian was armed and dangerous when killed by officers.
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson issued a statement supporting having James investigate Flowers' killing.
"The city is absolutely committed to a full and thorough investigation," he said. "Public confidence in the conduct and conclusions of this investigation is of paramount importance."
Bramson said that confidence could be best achieved by placing the investigation in the hands of state-level authorities, who are removed from day-to-day relationships with New Rochelle.
Richard St. Paul, attorney for the Flowers' family, said that people deserved justice.
"We are calling upon the governor to be the leader he's been through [the COVID-19 crisis] to ask the attorney general to investigate," he said.
Flowers was shot and killed after the car in which he was a passenger was stopped by police. Officers had been looking for the car after receiving a report of suspicious activity a couple of days prior.
Police said Flowers ran from the stopped vehicle. An officer caught up with him and tried and failed to use a stun gun, after which Flowers drew a handgun and attempted to fire it at the officer, according to authorities.
Flowers was pronounced dead while being taken to a hospital.
Police said a Ruger 9mm handgun, magazine and rounds were recovered.
Questions have been raised about whether there are gaps in the video released by the New Rochelle Police Department, the Journal News reported.
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