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Albany Police show body cam footage after police shoot man who stabbed officer during attempted arrest

A day after a man was shot by Albany Police after stabbing an officer during an attempted arrest downtown, body cam footage of the incident was released Tuesday morning.

Police Chief Eric Hawkins says officers responded to a domestic disturbance call on the 100 block of Franklin Street where they encountered a 54-year-old male suspect that they were able to coax out of the building. Hawkins says officers continued to speak with him and assist him in getting some of his belongings so that he could go to another address.

Hawkins says the man had an outstanding warrant issued in March for his involvement in a domestic incident at a different address with a different woman, and officers told him he would have to go to South Station to clear up the warrant.

"While attempting to take the suspect into custody for the warrant, the suspect removed a knife that was secreted in his pocket and stabbed one of the officers in the upper arm area, causing serious injury involving a significant loss of blood," said Hawkins. "As the suspect continued with his armed aggression against the officer, another officer shot the suspect once in the upper chest area. Even after being shot, the suspect again swung wildly at the officer's head area with the knife narrowly missing the officer's head. The officer who fired the shot then held the suspect at gunpoint and deescalated the situation until the knife could be removed from the suspect’s hand. The officers at the scene then administered first aid to the suspect."

Hawkins' account mirrors video obtained from body cameras worn by officers at the scene. The footage shows the point where the suspect tells police he is not going to be taken in.

"I'm not going to [unintelligible] do that again, you will have to kill me," the suspect said.

"These officers did not touch that person until he put his...they did not grab on to that person until that person placed his hands inside of his pocket,” Hawkins said. “And then you actually see the person remove the knife from his pocket and use that knife against these officers."

The suspect and the officers have not been identified.

Hawkins says officers administered first aid to the suspect, who remains hospitalized in stable condition. The officer who was stabbed has been released and is recovering at home.

"The officer that was injured, he sustained a very serious wound," said Hawkins. "Again, there was significant blood loss. So we have the physical piece of it, but then you have the mental part of it, where this officer knew that he was within inches of being maimed for life, or killed. So when you're in a situation like that, in many cases, the mental piece is the more difficult part to overcome. And so I spoke with him yesterday, and his spirits are high, you know, he understands that he has support from the police department, from the city from members of our community."

Hawkins told reporters that year after year deaths of officers in domestic violence incidents rank high.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan released a statement which says in part "... it is clear from the body-worn camera video that the use of deadly force in this incident was justified and consistent with APD’s use of force policy. It is also clear lessons were gleaned from the trainings on de-escalation, use of force, and administering first aid that have been enhanced under Chief Hawkins’ leadership. As the investigation into this incident continues, I echo Chief Hawkins’ commitment to transparency and cooperation with external agencies and our community."

Police spokesman Steve Smith says the suspect has not been charged yet but police anticipate he will be soon. Smith adds the man is known to law enforcement with 15 felony arrests along with several convictions, and was released on parole last year.

Hawkins says the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the Albany County District Attorney, the Albany Police Department and the Albany Community Police Review Board are investigating.

The Albany Community Police Review Board did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Albany Common Councilor Tom Hoey, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, was not available to speak in time for broadcast.

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.
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