Affiliated Police Association of Westchester defends actions of officer in fatal New Rochelle shooting
A Westchester medical examiner has ruled the death of Jarrell Garris a homicide.
Garris was shot by a New Rochelle detective last week and succumbed to his injury Monday. On Thursday, the president of the Affiliated Police Association of Westchester released a statement related to the actions of Detective Steven Conn, who fired the fatal shot, saying Conn's actions were justifiable and that officers may have died that day had he not taken action.
"He (Garris) tried to take a police officer's handgun out of a holster, which is an act of deadly physical force," said Detective Keith Olson, president of the APA of Westchester "The police officers, they didn't want to do what they had to do."
Olson said Garris's "extensive" criminal history, which has not been released, is relevant information to this story.
At the time of the shooting, Olson claims Garris was on probation supervision that was transferred to North Carolina and that shouldn't have been in the state at the time of the shooting.
Revealing Garris's criminal history is drawing outrage from many, including William Wagstaff, who represents Garris's family.
"The association has taken an excerpt from page two of the police PR playbook, the classic but he was a criminal routine, which suggests that someone's past makes their extra-judicial killing acceptable; it does not," said Wagstaff in a statement.
Randolph McLaughlin, criminal law professor at Pace University, agrees.
"He (Olson) is over here saying because he is such a bad actor, he deserved to kill him because he was going to do a bad thing," said McLaughlin.
He said the APA is smearing Garris' name instead of revealing relevant facts to the shooting, which he says includes releasing the disciplinary records of each officer involved, the unreleased body camera footage showing the actual shooting and releasing what training the officers received.
"You talk about de-escalation, from what I see here, there was only escalation. And when you escalate a situation, these kinds of tragic circumstances routinely occur," said McLaughlin.
The Attorney General's Office is investigating the shooting.
The three officers involved are on paid administrative leave.