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Family Dollar police shooting footage released

Oct 12, 2021

Body-worn camera footage of a police-involved shooting death inside a Rochester Family Dollar was released Tuesday afternoon.

Interim Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott Sullivan said the shooting happened around 9:30 p.m. last Wednesday at the 715 W. Main St. store.
 
The video shows two Rochester Police officers responding to a 911 call for a robbery. When police enter, they ask if someone has a gun. The officers quickly find a man in a blue hoodie standing behind the counter. Police repeatedly ask him to take his hands out of his pockets, but he refuses and runs away. 

Police chase him down the store’s aisles, and there was an exchange of gunfire. Police claim that the suspect shot first, but despite the video’s several angles of footage, some parts are blurred out and it’s unclear. In the video, one of the officers claims the gun is wrapped in a paper bag.

After one of the officers kicks the gun away, an ambulance is called for the man.

Police later identified the man as Simran Gordon. 

Protesters, including activist group Free The People have been demanding the release of the more  unredacted camera footage from the officers, blue light cameras and store cameras. They're also asking for the removal of an investigator from the case, along with the names of the involved officers who have not been identified yet. 

"One week after the RPD murdered Simran Gordon," said a statement released by Free The People Roc Wednesday, "they released heavily edited, heavily redacted footage, filled with biased rhetoric and propaganda in order to hide the simple truth: the RPD shot Simran Gordon in the back and handcuffed him while he took his final breaths on this earth."

The New York State Attorney General’s office investigates, all police-involved deaths in the state and released more footage from the incident Wednesday. 

City Council President Loretta C. Scott, Vice President Willie J. Lightfoot and Councilmembers Michael A. Patterson and Jose M. Peo said in a joint statement that the officers "upheld their duty to protect innocent bystanders and kept the customers and employees safe from harm, and we must commend them for that."

"While we often focus on the complexity of police-community relations and the need for reform in our public safety system, we also need to acknowledge the difficult nature of a police officer’s job and their willingness to step into the line of fire to protect citizens," the statement reads.

They also offered condolences to Gordon's family and loved ones.

City Councilmember and presumptive Mayor-elect Malik Evans also released a statement. He offered condolences to Gordon’s family and said, “This incident serves as a reminder of the dangers front-line workers face in our community daily. My thoughts are with the store employees and officers who stepped into a violent situation. I stand committed to ending gun violence and the trauma it is causing in our community. We must work together to build a stronger, safer community."

A statement released Wednesday from the Rochester Police Locust Club, who represents rank and file Rochester police officers, commends "the bravery and professionalism of those officers involved last week in stopping a violent robbery in progress. They put their lives on the line for others when a violent individual made the choice to commit multiple crimes, including shooting at them."

The Locust club statement also chastises city council's statements on the incident.

"Some City Council members have now started to release statements that try to support the officers’ heroic actions. Others didn’t even bother addressing the community about two young officers nearly being murdered. These politicians have agendas and have lost sight of the fact that an armed robber targeted community members and tried to kill a cop in this city. There should be no agendas, there should be no sides – everyone should be outraged by this brazen act."

"The City Council statements talk about the complexity of police-community relations. They fail to take ownership for their contribution when they turned their backs on officers and on community members facing unprecedented levels of violent crime. City Council members should be about this community and not about agendas. They need to start listening to the victims in this city and stop pandering for politics.”

Protesters, including activist group Free The People have been demanding the release of the more  unredacted camera footage, the removal of an investigator from the case, along with the names of the involved officers. They have not been identified yet. 

"One week after the RPD murdered Simran Gordon, they released heavily edited, heavily redacted footage, filled with biased rhetoric and propaganda in order to hide the simple truth: the RPD shot Simran Gordon in the back and handcuffed him while he took his final breaths on this earth."