New York 1 News

January 27, 2004

Grand Jury Set To Convene In Fatal Police Shooting Of Teen

A Brooklyn grand jury could hear evidence as early as Wednesday on last weekend's fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager by a police officer on the rooftop of a housing complex.

   

As the grand jury gets set to convene, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said Tuesday he has not yet decided whether to charge housing officer Richard Neri in the killing. According to published reports, Hynes is considering charging Neri with criminally negligent homicide or even second-degree manslaughter.

“The grand jury will begin to hear evidence today or tomorrow,” Hynes said Tuesday. “It’s not going to be a long-term investigation. That doesn’t mean it’s not complicated, but there aren’t all that many witnesses who have to be interviewed. The key thing is that we have not, at this point, spoken to the shooter.”

Timothy Stansbury Jr., 19, was walking through the rooftop door of the Louis Armstrong Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant with friends early Saturday morning when Neri fatally shot him. Neri said he thought Stansbury was lunging at his partner, but the partner said Neri issued no words of warning before he fired.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said the shooting appears to be unjustified, a statement that has been criticized by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

PBA President Pat Lynch met with Hynes Tuesday to make sure the D.A. has all the facts before he moves forward with the case.

"I spoke to the police officer strictly to find out how he's doing, how his wife's doing, how his kids are doing,” said Lynch. “I do not want to taint this case, and neither should anyone else."

Defense lawyer Stu London says he's considering putting Neri on the stand before the grand jury, in what could be the officer's one chance to tell his side of the story before he's charged.

As the D.A. decides whether or not to charge Neri in the case, Police Department sources tell NY1 another witness has come forward in connection with the case, joining Stansbury's two friends and the officer's partner, who have already been interviewed.

Meanwhile, several protestors, including parents who have lost their own children in police shootings, gathered at the Louis Armstrong Houses Tuesday to demand justice for Stansbury, who they say was unjustly shot.

“We've heard rhetoric before, but if we can get justice in this instance, maybe – and some of us keep hoping year after year – maybe this will be the last time that this happened,” said the Reverend Herbert Daughtry. “Justice would be for the full weight of the law to be administered."

In other news related to the case, Deputy Commissioner of Training James Fyfe, who's perhaps best known for defending the actions of officers in the Amadou Diallo shooting, has been named to head a police panel to determine whether the Stansbury shooting is a warning that police need better training.