Just days after more than 1,000 protesters lined New Rochelle’s streets to protest the use of excessive force by police and the pattern of killing black men in America, 24 year-old Kamal Flowers was shot after fleeing officers during a traffic stop and allegedly pulling a weapon.
Officers received a call Friday night from a resident of New Rochelle’s Heritage Village that a Dodge Charge with tinted windows and Virginia license plates had been “operating in an unusual fashion,” according to the NRPD. Just before 11 p.m., uniformed officers stopped a car matching that description for unspecified traffic violation near Pierce St. and Potter Ave.
According to the police report and matching private surveillance video released by the New Rochelle Police Department, Flowers immediately exited the front passenger seat and ran. One of the responding officers pursued on foot, firing his Taser, then reportedly scuffling with Flowers. It’s at this time, the report says, that Flowers showed a gun and pointed it at the officer, who fired his own weapon six times. One shot stuck Flowers.
Officers pulled Flowers to the side of the road and provided medical assistance, but he was declared dead in the ambulance en route to a nearby hospital. An unlicensed Ruger 9mm handgun was recovered from the suspect, who had been released on parole after serving 2 years for felony robbery and was not legally permitted to possess a firearm.
“This tragic event, which would be traumatic under any circumstances, comes at a moment of intense local and national focus on issues of police violence and systemic racism,” says New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. “All of us are called to work together, alongside community leaders and advocates, to pursue the broader cause of racial justice and peace in New Rochelle.”
The incident is being investigated by the Westchester County District Attorney’s office. State Attorney General Letitia James declined to investigate, saying that police shootings involving armed civilians falls outside the scope of the AG’s office. Both officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.