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NY Attorney General releases report into the death of Edson Thevenin

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - The New York State Attorney General’s Office’s investigation into a fatal officer involved shooting in Troy is complete.

The AG’s office will not prosecute in the death of Edson Thevenin.

According to the report, the attorney general’s office did not obtain adequate evidence to make a finding of criminal culpability. The AG stated Troy police committed several errors investigating the case and issued graphics to prove it.

As a result, police made it impossible for criminal charges to stick, according to the report.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released the following statement:

Edson Thevenin’s death was a tragedy. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

Our investigation uncovered significant problems with the Troy Police Department’s evidence collection, preservation, and analysis practices in this case. These problems included a flawed, prejudged analysis of the evidence and a failure to properly interview all of the available witnesses to the shooting. As detailed in the report, these failures undermined the homicide investigation and must be quickly and thoroughly addressed.

As a matter of law, regardless of the ultimate conclusions reached by our office, criminal prosecution in this case was made impossible because the officer involved testified before a 2016 grand jury without having waived immunity from prosecution.

We are always committed to conducting a fully independent review of the facts in these cases, and to providing an exhaustive and transparent accounting of our investigation.

Gertha DePas, Thevenin’s mother, was not surprised by the attorney general’s report slamming the way Troy police investigated her son’s shooting death.

Thevenin was shot by Troy Sgt. Randy French following a traffic stop in April 2016. The AG’s office said there were at least three witnesses prematurely turned away by police. One of them, investigators did not interview.

The argument that Sgt. French was pinned by Thevenin’s car is “ultimately inaccurate,” according to the AG.

Forensic evidence showed eight bullets fired by Sgt. French came from different directions.

“It was heart wrenching; it was very painful because the perjury, from him lying, and then still he gets to get away with it,” DePas said.

Because Sgt. French previously testified before a grand jury in the case, he cannot be prosecuted.

“That Mr. Abelove would put this officer in a position where he can’t be touched, that in and of itself weighs in almost as much as the murder and the perjury,” Empire Christian Center Pastor Tre Staton said.

Troy Mayor Patrick Madden disagrees with the AG’s investigation. He said it unfairly put the Troy Police Department in a negative light.

He released a statement Tuesday afternoon:

The City of Troy continues to be unfairly involved in the jurisdictional dispute between the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the Rensselaer County District Attorney. We fundamentally disagree with the Attorney General’s findings contained within the SIPU report and are confident that the Troy Police Department’s operations and procedures remain consistent with best practices adhered to by law enforcement agencies across the state and nation. While we believe the factual inaccuracies and errors contained within the report unfairly put the Troy Police Department in a negative light, we will continue to fully cooperate with Attorney General’s office in their investigation and remain in communication to further discuss their findings.

The AG’s office asserts the report speaks for itself and is urging Troy police revisit its policy on shooting at moving cars and wants Troy police to wear body cameras.

In December, a grand jury handed up a three count indictment against Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove for his handling of the case.

According to the attorney general’s office, in March 2017, Abelove tried to stop the investigation stating it was unconstitutional. The New York Supreme Court rejected the claims in an August 2017 ruling.

No word on when the trial will begin.

Thevenin’s family said they will keep praying for justice.

Read the full report.


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