AG: No Charges Against Police in Jose Hernandez-Rossy Shooting

Rossy was shot last year in Black Rock

Tom Puckett
February 01, 2018 - 1:20 pm

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The State Attorney General's office's special investigations unit released its report on the shooting death of Jose Hernandez-Rossy last year. It has determined there is no basis for charges against the Buffalo Police officers involved.

READ:  Complete report from NYS AG Office

“The death of Mr. Hernandez Rossy was a tragedy and my heart goes out to his family, friends, and everyone who cared about him,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “Based on a thorough investigation—an investigation that included accounts from more than a dozen civilian eyewitnesses and a review of photographic and video evidence—and an exhaustive legal analysis, under the chaotic circumstances preceding Mr. Hernandez Rossy’s death, the officers’ actions did not exceed the legally permissible standard of police conduct established by the United States Supreme Court and New York state law. This determination does not lessen the tragedy of Mr. Hernandez’s death, nor does it excuse the use of excessive force by police in other cases. Nevertheless, we hope that today’s extensive and transparent report about our investigation will provide the community and Buffalo PD with the facts, evidence, and recommendations necessary to help prevent these types of tragic events from happening again.” 

The report says Officer Justin Tedesco, the shooting officer, and several civilian bystanders saw Hernandez Rossy and a second officer, Joseph Acquino, wrestling inside of Hernandez Rossy’s car over what Acquino mistakenly believed to be a gun, following a traffic stop; Hernandez Rossy attempt to drive away while wrestling with Acquino, only to collide into a house, after almost driving into a child on a bicycle; and Acquino emerge from the vehicle bleeding from his head, with his ear partially detached, and shouting that he had been shot. The report says civilian bystanders also saw and heard Mr. Hernandez Rossy struggle with PO Tedesco, break free, and attempt to flee. Tedesco warned Mr. Hernandez Rossy not to flee. When PO Tedesco’s warning was not heeded, PO Tedesco shot Hernandez Rossy in the arm as he was running away. In fact, Mr. Hernandez Rossy had not been armed and, although Acquino was seriously injured during the struggle, he had not been shot. Hernandez-Rossy's lawyers contend what Acquino thought was a gunshot was actually the car's air bag going off.

The attorney general's office is recommending Buffalo Police examine giving officers Tasers. For the second time it is recommending BPD become an accredited agency. The attorney general's office says the investigation was lacking in areas of evidence collection and documentation, including, in particular, the BPD’s failure to perform – or perceive the need to perform – a prompt and complete accident reconstruction.

LISTEN: Buffalo Police attorney Tom Burton on the AG findings in Jose Hernandez' Death

Tom Burton, attorney for the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, says there were some forensics involved, including any drugs in Hernandez-Rossy's system. "He had heroin laced with fentanyl, illegal Xanax, he was high on marijuana and he had oxycodone in almost 100 hits of cocaine in a package," says Burton. "He panicked, and he had a good reason to do something desperate." Burton says a young boy was almost hit by Hernandez-Rossy's SUV, and credits Acquno with saving the boy's life. 

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