[WATCH} Troy Police Won’t Say if Suspect Was Armed in Shooting

TROY — Two days after the Tuesday-night shooting of an alleged parole violator by a city police officer, officials would not say whether the 22-year-old man had a weapon.

“The investigation is continuing and that information has not yet been authorized for release,” Capt. Daniel DeWolf, a police department spokesman, said Thursday.

John Salka, a spokesman for Mayor Patrick Madden, said, “We’re not going to comment on the investigation.”
A resident on Eighth Street, where Dahmeek McDonald was shot at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, said someone outside was heard shouting, “Drop the weapon, drop the weapon!” Another witness, who saw the shooting unfold, said she never saw a weapon and that she believed McDonald was unarmed.

At a Wednesday morning news conference just before a rally by neighborhood residents, Chief John Tedesco said Officer Jarrod Iler had fired his service weapon. Iler’s partner, Officer Martin Furciniti, and two other responding officers did not fire. All have been placed on administrative leave, and after three days will be evaluated to determine if they can return to duty.

At the news conference, Tedesco would not discuss whether McDonald was armed. He said there were a number of unanswered questions. The police department and the Rensselaer County district attorney’s office are investigating the shooting.

In March 2014, McDonald had driven the wrong way down Interstate 787 in a police chase that ended on the Dunn Memorial Bridge. He pleaded guilty in August 2014 in Albany County Court to criminal possession of drugs and sentenced to prison. He was wanted as a parole absconder, and a warrant was issued this past April, the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said. He is being held in the Rensselaer County jail.

Iler, the son of former Assistant Chief Ralph Iler, was hired by the department off a shorter civil service list of candidates who are bilingual. (Iler speaks Spanish.) Tedesco said Iler had an exemplary record.

The shooting occurred near the intersection of Eighth and Rensselaer streets. Witness Brittany Hughes, who said she had been talking to McDonald while he sat in the car, said he put it in drive and turned the wheel as two police cars parked diagonally behind and in front of his vehicle.

A moving vehicle can be considered a weapon in certain circumstances.

The last time a city police officer fired his weapon was in April 2015, another episode in which a suspect’s car was stopped between two police cars. Sgt. Randall French fatally shot Edson Thevenin of Watervliet, who had allegedly fled a traffic stop.

In that case, authorities said his vehicle was considered as a weapon. A Rensselaer County grand jury refused to indict French when the case was presented within days of the shooting. The state attorney general’s office is investigating District Attorney Joel Abelove’s handling of the case.

The previous police shooting was in August 2014, when Officer Joshua Comitale and Chad Klein were severely wounded in a fatal shootout with carjacking suspect Thaddeus Faison on 112th Street in Lansingburgh. A grand jury did not charge the officers with wrongdoing in Faison’s death.

City Council members said the police investigation of McDonald’s shooting should proceed quickly.

“The investigation will have to take its natural course, and hopefully this will be done expeditiously and the results made public,” said City Council President Carmella Mantello, a Republican. “Additionally, I would like to add that it was clearly stated yesterday by some residents that they want better communication and relations between themselves and the police.”

Mantello called for Madden, a Democrat, to reactivate the city’s Police Objective Review Commission, which has been defunct since 2016.

“This investigation has to be brought to a conclusion with enough rapidity to satisfy the community,” said Councilman Robert Doherty, also a Democrat.

The shooting occurred in Councilman Mark McGrath’s district. McGrath, a Republican, said the officers are entitled to due process.

Posted by Fredrick Mack Krueger on Tuesday, 15 August 2017