by Sandy Malone and Christopher Berg
Newburgh, NY – The City of Newburgh released bodycam images Saturday from an officer-involved shooting after a city councilman incited rioting by claiming the suspect was unarmed.
“Normally in an investigation of this type of incident we would not be releasing images this early in the investigation,” District Attorney David Hoovler said, according to Record Online. “However, to allay community concerns, which quite frankly have been stoked by misinformation coming from a city official, we are releasing these images showing the armed man discharging his gun.”
The images clearly show that the suspect had a pistol in his hand.
The shooting occurred at about 5 p.m. on March 26 when Newburgh City police officers spotted a suspect in the area of 40 William Street who wanted for questioning in a shooting that occurred on Thursday, according to Mid Hudson News.
Police said that when officers approached, the suspect pulled a silver handgun.
The suspect struck an officer in the head with a gun and fired his weapon, Mid Hudson News reported.
One officer was shot in the shoulder, according to Daily Freeman. His condition has not been released.
Officers performed CPR on the suspect before he was transported to Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Law enforcement from across the region are assisting in the investigation, the Times Herald-Record reported.
Newburgh City Councilman Omari Shakur posted a video on Facebook right after the incident that said “an unarmed black man” had been shot and killed by police, Mid Hudson News reported.
Shakur referred to the officers as “pigs” and said they are “killers.”
Groups of activists gathered near the hospital and the scene of the shooting in response.
“They’re killing us for nothing,” a man at the crime scene told the Times Herald-Record.
The activists then started burning objects in the middle of the street while officers stood back for safety reasons, according to Ben Nandy with Spectrum news.
In February, Shakur launched into a profanity-laced tirade when a city police officer tried to speak with him about blocking traffic with his vehicle.
The tantrum was captured on bodycam video.
Shakur, a convicted felon who spent years in prison and struggled with addiction prior to being elected to the city council in November of 2019, stopped his vehicle in the middle of Carpenter Avenue to talk on his cell phone on Feb. 18, according to the Times Herald-Record.
A Newburgh police officer happened to be behind him and the officer briefly honked his horn in an effort to get Shakur to move his SUV out of the roadway, the MidHudson News reported.
The councilman refused to move his SUV, then began arguing with the officer when he approached him.
PBA President Derek Campbell said that the city is standing behind the Newburgh Police Department (NPD).
“To watch fellow officers be verbally abused by a politician, especially one from the very city they serve, is heartbreaking to say the least,” Campbell told the MidHudson News. “Our members work on a daily basis with the brave men and women of the City of Newburgh Police Department, who are among the most professional, hard-working and dedicated police officers.”
Campbell noted that Shakur “preaches hatred to the city youth,” as evidenced by his vulgar tirade during the traffic stop.
“This is not the first time he has done this to our officers; it is just the first time that it made it to the media,” the PBA president added.
Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus also denounced the city councilman’s actions.
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