Lawyer: Man shot by Troy PD officer was unarmed

January 22, 2018 01:35 AM

TROY -- Dahmeek McDonald's attorney says his client was not armed when a Troy police officer shot him twice last week. Troy Police have not yet given an answer on whether McDonald had a weapon or why the officer pulled the trigger. 

Mark Mishler, McDonald's attorney, is also calling for Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove to hand over the investigation of the incident to the state attorney general.

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"Your involvement in a new case involving the use of deadly force by a Troy police officer while you are under investigation for allegedly undermining a previous similar investigation, presents - at the least - a gross appearance of impropriety," said Mishler in a letter to Abelove.

The attorney general is investigating Abelove for his handling of the April 2016 death of Edson Thevenin. Troy Police shot and killed the unarmed Thevenin at the foot of the Collar City Bridge after a chase. Abelove cleared police of wrongdoing within five days, even though the attorney general notified Abelove he was reviewing the case under the power of a 2015 executive order.

Legal expert Paul DerOhanessian says if Abelove doesn't step down on his own, the only person who would likely make him is Governor Andrew Cuomo.

"The letter may be an attempt to gather more public attention in particular from one person, the governor, because the governor is the one person you can override DA's authority to investigate the case," said DerOhanessian.

Rich Azzopardi from the governor's office said in a statement "We are monitoring this case closely and we'll take action as appropriate."

Abelove said in a statement he can't comment on a pending investigation, but believes "District Attorneys can handle these types of cases 'fairly and dispose of them properly."'

DerOhanessian noted the public still knows very little about what led to the officer firing his weapon.  Troy PD says McDonald violated his parole. They say McDonald was on parole for drug sales and had a history of weapons possession. 

The attorney general's office and Troy PD had no comment.

McDonald is expected to make a full recovery.

More information:

Letter to District Attorney on Troy PD shooing


WNYT Staff

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