‘The greatest trauma’ – New Rochelle mayor addresses family of Jarrell Garris at intense City Council meeting
Community members sent a message Tuesday night, packing a New Rochelle City Council meeting following the now-fatal police-involved shooting earlier this month.
The state Attorney General’s Office says Jarrell Garris died Monday as a result of the shooting. Its Office of Special Investigation will now probe the death and determine if any charges should be filed.
Police received a complaint on Monday, July 3 that Garris allegedly stole produce from a nearby store. They found Garris outside the store when they arrived.
According to state police, New Rochelle Police Officer Steve Conn shot Garris one time during a struggle while he was being arrested. Three New Rochelle police officers involved remain on administrative leave, according to a city spokesperson.
Many at the meeting called for police reforms, improved training for city police officers and voiced frustrations about the racial divides in the city.
Attorney and family spokesperson William Wagstaff said the family is demanding accountability.
"They are just demanding that the officer that took their child's life be held accountable, unlike too many other officers that take the lives of unarmed Black men," said Wagstaff.
Mayor Noam Bramson addressed the family for the first time.
"The greatest trauma, the most personal trauma – that the heaviest burden is born by the family of Jarrell Garris who are sitting here in the front row, and to you I wish to express my deepest condolences and sympathies."
New Rochelle police released bodycam video within hours of the incident. During a news conference last week, Garris’ father and the family attorney called on the police department to release the entire video and asked witnesses to come forward.
Garris’s family released the following statement earlier in the day:
“It is with great sorrow that we confirm that our son, father, brother, nephew, cousin, and friend has transitioned. We are committed to getting Justice for Jarrell and submit that if the City of New Rochelle is sincere about its commitment to transparency and it’s not just a veneer, all videos of Jarrell’s execution should be released immediately. We ask for prayer and peace as we prepare to memorialize him.”
The City of New Rochelle also released a statement:
"The involvement of a New Rochelle police officer in a shooting, no matter how rare, and no matter the circumstances, is a trauma for our entire community. For the family and friends of Jarrell Garris, that trauma is infinitely more personal, and our thoughts are with them at a moment of heavy, painful grief.
We recognize that this incident raises a range of questions and concerns; yet, many cannot be addressed until a thorough, outside investigation is completed.
The City is dedicated to supporting the investigative process in any and every appropriate way, and we welcome the oversight of the New York State Attorney General.
As public discussion continues, we remain committed to openness, respectful dialogue, and constructive action, with the goal now and always of building a community that is safe and just for all of its residents. "