Officer cleared in Dollar Tree showdown: AG James rules fatal shooting justified

May 16, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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Attorney General Letitia James’ Office of Special Investigation (OSI) issued its report on Monday on the death of Clarence Little, the man involved in a deadly encounter with police officers in Brooklyn.

The OSI concluded that the police officer’s use of deadly force was justified under New York law, based on the comprehensive investigation conducted.

On the evening of January 4, 2022, at a Dollar Tree store on Rockaway Parkway, Little made multiple purchases before brandishing a firearm at store employees and emptying the cash register. A 911 call made by an employee, who recognized Little from previous incidents, brought two officers to the scene.

As Little attempted to leave, he was confronted by the officers. Body-worn camera (BWC) footage shows an intense struggle between Little and one of the officers, culminating in Little discharging his firearm twice. The second officer on the scene, in response to the imminent threat, fired his service weapon.

Little was promptly transported to a local hospital, but succumbed to his injuries nearly a month later, on February 3, 2022. Investigators recovered a gun from the scene of the incident.

Given the strong evidence of Little’s violent actions, including robbery and shooting at an officer, the OSI concluded that no prosecutor could successfully dispute that the officer was justified in using deadly force. As a result, the OSI ruled out pursuing criminal charges against the officer involved.

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