No Charges Against Buffalo Police Officer in December Shooting

DA says shooting was in self-defense, justified

March 14, 2019 - 2:22 pm

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - No charges will be filed against the Buffalo Police officer involved in the shooting death of Marcus Neal in December.

The basic story alleges that Neal was caught stealing from the Wegman's on Amherst Street in Buffalo and a pursuit took place. When police ended up confronting him on a roof near Gladstone Street, Neal apparently pulled out a knife, started cutting himself, and after verbal warnings from police and the use of mace, Neal lunged at officer Joseph Meli, who shot Neal three times. 

"I have come to the conclusion that Officer Meli was acting in self-defense," said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn. "He was justified in his shots, and therefore, Officer Meli is cleared of any wrongdoing by the Erie County District Attorney's Office."

Hear about the full incident in Thursday's press conference below:

Flynn added that police attempted to de-escalate the situation before the shooting took place, and that Meli had no choice but to shoot.

"Everyone always makes the statement, "Why didn't you try to use non-lethal measures first, before you shot?'" said Flynn. "They did that, here; they used mace."

Attorney Donald Thompson, who represents Neal's family, and he provided an initial response to Flynn's announcement.

"All very interesting," said Thompson. "The family, specifically Mr. Neal's father and myself, got a brief summary of the information, that you heard in detail at the press conference, just moments before the press conference. That was the first that we've heard of it; it was the first that we had heard of the district attorney's determination. Obviously, from the press conference, they have done a very thorough investigation; there are many documents, police reports, autopsy reports, videos from Wegman's, other information that they've acquired in the course of the investigation.

We've done our own investigation as well, but we don't have all of the information that they have, which has led them to this determination."

He also noted that they are not filing a civil action lawsuit at this point.

"We want to take them at their word; we want to examine the information that has led them to this conclusion," he said. "They've promised that now their investigation is over, they're going to share that information so that we can take a look at it, and we can make a responsible decision."

Hear more from Thompson below:

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