Questions Raised in Dedrick James’ Death in Rochester NY
Relatives of the man who police say was shot dead by his own weapon during a scuffle with members of the US Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force are concerned about what led to the fatal encounter.
“There are a series of problematic concerns,” and unanswered questions about what happened, said Reverend Lewis Stewart, chairman of the Western New York State United Christian Leadership Ministry about the September 15 incident at a house in Vinewood Place.
24-year-old Dedrick J. James was shot dead at his grandmother’s home at 6 Vinewood Place in Rochester. New York State Police say members of the task force attempted to execute an arrest warrant for James at around 10:30 a.m. on September 15, when James “attempted to escape into the residence.” and “wrestled physically” with members of the task force.
James, authorities said, pulled out a loaded handgun. As they struggled, a bullet from James’ gun fired and hit James in the upper body.
Stewart said James’ grandmother, who owned the house, witnessed the encounter. He lived in the house with her, Stewart said.
“There are unanswered questions regarding Mr. James’ untimely death,” said Stewart.
Among them, he said, the authorities did not produce an arrest warrant at the scene.
James, he said, was in the hallway of the house when his grandmother opened the door to find police waiting. James told his grandmother he would handle the situation, Stewart said.
James was wanted for second degree assault involving a child in connection with a Wayne County case, Field Marshal Charles Salina said.
Stewart also asked why a Fugitive Task Force had been formed in connection with an incident about nine months earlier involving James’ own child, an infant. He had already been questioned twice by state police about the alleged assault before authorities arrived at Vinewood Place on September 15, Stewart said.
Why were the federal authorities involved? What about body camera images? He asked. “There are a lot of issues and concerns,” he said.
James’ grandmother and another relative are expected to attend Wednesday’s press conference.
Rochester Police, New York State Police and the state attorney general’s office are investigating the fatal encounter, Salina said.
The Marshals Task Force includes members of the US Marshals Service, Rochester Police Department, State Police, and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
These questions arise in a climate of mistrust between segments of the Rochester community and the police service.
In early September, questions surrounding the veracity of two Rochester police officers, Robert Osipovitch and Ryan Hartley, led to the rejection of one conviction and could have a substantial impact on several others.
An internal Rochester Police Department investigation on Thursday ruled that one of the seven suspended officers faces a penalty for their roles in the death of Daniel Prude.