Update 7/16/2020: New Rochelle resident Isa Muhammad told The Journal News yesterday that he is positive he and Flowers were racially profiled when stopped by police on June 5, that no traffic violation had been committed, and that he he did not believe Flowers was carrying the firearm he is accused of aiming at police before being shot to death following an extended foot chase.
“It wasn’t that kind of day … I don’t believe he had a weapon,” Muhammad says in the interview.
In the video, Muhammad relates driving to a well-lit area with cameras in case the traffic stop went wrong, and then officers demanding he and Flowers exit the vehicle. Flowers got out first and ran, at which point Muhammad says one of the officers shouted at his partner using a racial slur before leaving Muhammad behind to assist in the chase by car.
The Westchester County District Attorney’s office is currently investigating the case and is aware of the accusation, though denies racial profiling played a part in the traffic stop and shooting, according to a spokesperson for the city*.
Original story continues below.
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.