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UPDATED: New Details Emerge In Civilian Police Shooting

WAMC composite photo by Dave Lucas
Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove is being sued by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Update 5/1/16:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order in support of an investigation by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman into a police shooting that killed a Capital Region man.

Watervliet resident Edson Thevenin was killed in an encounter with Troy police on April 17th.

Last week, Schneiderman's office announced it was suing Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove over the case after police sergeant Randy French was cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting by a grand jury.

Last year, Cuomo signed an executive order to appoint state Attorney General as special prosecutor over cases involving unarmed civilian deaths by police. The order announced over the weekend mentions Thevenin by name.

The original post is included below:

Details surrounding one of the Capital Region’s most recent police shootings have taken a darker turn.

On Sunday, April 17, Troy Police Sgt. Randall French shot and killed a 37-year old motorist, who allegedly was driving while intoxicated and fled a traffic stop.   Police say Edson Thevinin drove his car at and pinned French against a patrol cruiser. French fired eight shots, fatally wounding Thevinin.  Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove is being sued by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who says the DA defied Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive order that the AG handle investigations into any cases where an unarmed civilian is shot by police.  Abelove gave the case to a grand jury that quickly decided not to indict French, a 12-year veteran of the force.

Since then, two civilians who witnessed the incident have come forward: according to the Times Union, one of them gave police a written statement that was NOT presented to the grand jury. The other shot cellphone video of the shooting incident - the newspaper says that individual recently took a civil service exam to become a police officer and believes French may have opened fire before Thevenin's vehicle allegedly pinned the officer's legs against his police cruiser. Police previously insisted video of the encounter did not exist.   Schneiderman's lawsuit stated Abelove was withholding information.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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