WNYT.com

Schenectady officers cleared in controversial fatal shooting

Posted at: 12/09/2012 11:40 PM
Updated at: 12/09/2012 11:52 PM
By: Erin Mardon

SCHENECTADY - Police say Luis Rivera had a gun when three officers shot him in August last year.

A source close to the investigation confirmed to Newschannel 13 the Schenectady officers who shot Luis Rivera in August 2011, are off the hook.

Police were responding to a complaint of a man with a gun on grove place in the city. That’s where they found the 33 year-old Rivera who they say pulled out a gun.

Three officers fired 14 shots, killing Rivera. Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett, who spoke last year about the incident, said the shooting was justified, and that Rivera was ordered to stop and get down.

According to Bennett last year, “He failed to do so. He turned in a motion toward the officers. They saw the gun and at that point they fired upon him.”

Police said they had dashboard video to back-up their story; video that was part of the evidence in a grand jury proceeding that cleared the three officers, according to the source.

Bennett said last year, “we reviewed the footage. It’s consistent with the actions that are identified to us by Sgt. Fennell and others.”

Police say Rivera also had a long criminal history including possession of weapons.

We spoke to Rivera’s sister, Noelia Rivera soon after the incident. She said then her family had serious doubts about the police version of exactly what led to the shooting.

In the interview, Rivera said, “We know from knowing him, he had common sense. He would never try to pull a gun out and point it at a cop knowing that's he's going to get shot.”

Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney declined to comment.

A Schenectady Police spokesperson said they will reserve their statement until the grand jury decision is made public.