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Berkshire NAACP President decries Pittsfield Police shooting of Miguel Estrella

Dennis Powell
Josh Landes
Berkshire County NAACP Chapter President Dennis Powell at a 2020 anti-police brutality protest in downtown Pittsfield.

After a 22-year-old was shot and killed by the Pittsfield Police Department on Friday, the President of the Berkshire Chapter of the NAACP is speaking out.

According to an account provided by the Berkshire District Attorney’s office, Miguel Estrella was having a mental health crisis when he was tased and then shot twice, fatally. The investigation into the incident is being overseen by DA Andrea Harrington.

NAACP chapter president Dennis Powell says that Estrella’s death is indicative of systemic issues with policing.

"Clearly, what they saw was a person of color, large in size which, unfortunately, the color of his skin represented a threat to the officers," Powell told WAMC. "It is inconceivable that these officers did not realize that this young man was in crisis and needed help."

Powell says the NAACP and other community groups are organizing a collective action in response.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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