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Utica teen officer involved shooting investigation: What’s Next?

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t’s been nearly one week since a 13-year-old boy was shot and killed in Utica after a traffic stop and foot pursuit led police to believe the teen had a weapon.

That firearm was discovered to be a pellet gun resembling a Glock 17.

The grief for the family and community will last a lifetime, legal experts warn they may not get the outcomes in court they hope for.

“Certainly, I don’t think it takes an expert to realize there are other ways this could’ve gone where this young boy would still be alive,” said Peter Pullano, Managing Partner for Tully Rinckey’s Rochester Office. “That’s unfortunate, that does not necessarily mean there is going to be criminal liability, I think there may well be some civil liability.”

The Utica police department released parts of the officer-worn body camera video days after the incident.

“I think everyone can see how quickly this evolved, it was within two minutes this incident happened, and lifesaving was within seconds,” said Utica Police Lt. Michael Curley. “So, we released three short vignettes of the video that are about three minutes that show the incident, the life-saving measures, and the immediate response.”

While body camera video does provide details of what happened, defense attorney Paul DerOhanessian believes it doesn’t always paint the whole picture.

The Utica police are conducting an internal investigation, however, any criminal proceedings will come after the attorney general’s office investigates.

That investigation could take at least a year to complete; “that’s how complicated a review of these cases is; even the video that we have seen has to be analyzed frame by frame and I emphasize that we haven’t seen all the officers ‘ worn camera video either.”

“What has to come out of this with the attorney general’s office is to allow cooler heads to prevail; no matter what the outcome. Somebody independently will be doing this investigation without the emotions of the clear tragedy. They will be in a better position to make whatever recommendations and decisions in this case,” Pullano added.

Defense attorneys say civil lawsuits could already be in the works. However, only time will tell how the case unfolds.

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