2 reports from Attorney General’s Office of Special Investigation confirm NYPD officers were justified in fatal shootings

September 15, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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Two separate reports released by the New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Office of Special Investigation (OSI) concluded that New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers were justified in their use of deadly force in the fatal shootings of Rameek Smith and Yoskar Feliz, both in The Bronx.

On May 10, 2022, officers spotted Rameek Smith, who seemed to have a firearm, on Third Avenue. As the officers tried to engage, Smith attempted to flee, leading to a pursuit that tragically ended in Bathgate Avenue. Smith, having already fired and injured an officer on foot, pointed his weapon at the second officer who had been trailing in a patrol car. This officer retaliated by shooting Smith, who succumbed to his injuries at a hospital later. A firearm was retrieved at the crime scene.

Similarly, on Jan. 20, 2022, NYPD officers responded to a reported apartment break-in at 3950 Bronx Boulevard. On arriving, they encountered Yoskar Feliz armed with a gun. Despite instructions to disarm, Feliz fired a shot and managed to escape through a window. Officers soon located him in Shoelace Park, where the chase resumed. Ignoring repeated commands to drop his weapon, Feliz pointed his firearm at the officers, prompting three of them to open fire. He was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, with a gun found at the scene.

New York’s justification law permits individuals to use deadly force when confronted with the imminent threat of deadly force from another. When this defense is invoked at trial, it falls upon the prosecution to refute it beyond a reasonable doubt. In both incidents, the victims had actively used their firearms either against the officers or in their vicinity, making it exceedingly difficult for a prosecutor to challenge the officers’ actions.

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The investigations included analysis of body-worn camera footage, witness testimonies, ballistics testing, and evidence collection from the respective crime scenes. In both cases, OSI determined that no criminal charges would be filed against the involved officers, concluding they acted within the bounds of New York’s justification law.



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