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NY Attorney General: RPD shooting death of suspect Timothy Flowers last year was justified

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New York State Attorney General Letitia James has released a report on the death of a man shot to death by Rochester Police in June of last year, and it said the officers’ use of deadly force was justified.

The report from the AG’s Office of Special Investigation released on Friday concerns the death of Timothy Flowers, 29, who the report states was shot to death by an RPD officer, after an exchange of gunfire, as police tried to arrest him on an attempted murder charge.

The report released Friday by the Attorney General does recommend that RPD equip its Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team officers with body worn cameras in the future.

The AG noted that at the time of that incident on June 4, 2021, RPD did not equip its SWAT team officers with body worn cameras, which was an exception to its general policy (other officers involved in the shooting did have body worn cameras).

The state report recommends the SWAT officers wear those cameras in the future unless there is “a command-level exemption based on the needs of a particular case.”

The report from the Office of Special Investigation said that evidence established that Flowers was the “probable shooter” in three separate shooting incidents that happened in May of 2021. The AG said that on June 4, SWAT team officers found Flowers and when he saw the officers approaching him, he ran.

The report said that two officers followed him on foot to a residential neighborhood, where Flowers hid behind a house and fired at one of the officers, who fired back. The report said that when a second officer approached Flowers, he ignored orders to drop his gun and took aim. At that point, according to the AG, the second officer fired at Flowers, who later died from his injuries.

In her statement on Friday, James said that “After a thorough review of the facts of this incident, we concluded that officers were justified in their conduct in this case. In order to ensure continued transparency, it’s imperative that every law enforcement agency in New York is equipped with body-worn cameras, and we urge the Rochester Police Department to outfit every officer, including members of special teams, with this critical tool.”

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.