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A call for changes in policing after man was shot and killed by officers last week

tyshon_family_spectrum.jpg
Spectrum News
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Members of Tyshon Jones' family along with Rev. Myra Brown and other supporters at Spiritus Christi Church on Sunday, 3/14/21.

An emotional news conference took place Sunday on the steps of Spiritus Christi Church to talk about the life of Tyshon Jones.

He’s the 29-year-old Gates man who was shot and killed by Rochester Police Wednesday near the Open Door Mission on West Main Street.

The deadly shooting happened when, according to police, Jones had taken some knives from the mission, and then threatened officers.

Among those calling for a different approach to public safety on Sunday was Rev. Myra Brown, pastor at Spiritus Christi, who says Jones’ mental health struggle became a death sentence for him.

"The system failed him, it failed his parents, it failed his community. It fails us every day," Brown said. "We want justice for him and safety for people of color in our community in the hands of police."

Brown wants to see a wholesale change to policing in Rochester and says a pastor’s roundtable she is part of is making a number of proposals to reimagine public safety in the city.

Jones’ mother, Kennetha Short, also spoke, saying that her son was devoted to his church, was an honor roll student, and that she doesn’t like the way he’s been characterized. She said she will not watch the police bodyworn camera video that was released last week.

“For anyone who has crossed paths with Tyshon, they know that the 36-minute video, that I refuse to view, that 36 minutes has no reflection on the character of Tyshon. None,” Short said.

She also noted that she has had to cope with a lot of family tragedy in recent weeks and months with the death of both her mother and her grandmother.

The city of Rochester is currently working on a reform plan for public safety, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has required be submitted to the state by April 1.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.