NEW YORK — In a rare move, a New York City prosecutor has made public a 71-page, detailed report of a fatal police shooting of a man authorities say was armed.
In releasing the report on Friday, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown stated that there was no basis for criminal charges against the officers in the death of George Tillman on April 17 in South Ozone Park, Queens.
The family of the Maryland resident said in a statement through their lawyer that the officers should face a trial.
“Only a jury can help us understand why a father of five, a licensed electrician being investigated for an open container, can get shot 11 times — without getting a shot off — after allegedly pulling a gun on police officers,” their statement said. “It made no sense when it happened and it still makes no sense today.”
The report included accounts from police, emergency workers, witnesses and details on evidence gathered by investigators, the New York Times reported.
It was released amid mounting calls nationwide for more transparency in reviews of police-involved shootings after a series of fatal shootings of black males by white officers. Ordinarily, in such cases authorities only release brief public statements on whether they expect to file charges.
The report says plainclothes officers initially stopped Tillman, who is black, for holding an open bottle of vodka near his car. Tillman gave the bottle to a friend but as the officers started to walk away, they observed what looked like a gun in his waistband. As they went to talk to Tillman, he ran, according to the report. Prosecutors say four officers opened fire when he pointed a loaded weapon at an officer.
“Any fair and reasonable person would agree that to bring criminal proceedings against the officers would be totally unwarranted,” said Brown. “The officers had no choice but to fire in order to stop Mr. Tillman from firing his weapon at them.”
The attorney for the family of Eric Garner, who died after a fatal police chokehold in 2014 on Staten Island, praised the report’s release.
“If you’re not going forward with the case, it’s a good idea to explain why. More information is always better than less,” said Jonathan Moore.