A scathing report on the Troy Police Department has been released by the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Thevenin was shot and killed on the Collar City Bridge by Troy Police Sgt. Randall French in April 2016. According to Schneiderman's office, the department immediately adopted the theory that Thevenin had pinned the officer with a car moments before the shooting. But the 221-page report alleges that there was plenty of evidence pointing to the idea that the officer was not pinned by a car when those first shots were fired through the windshield.
In the report, Schneiderman says, "Our investigation uncovered significant problems with the Troy Police Department’s evidence collection, preservation, and analysis practices in this case. These problems included a flawed, prejudged analysis of the evidence and a failure to properly interview all of the available witnesses to the shooting. As detailed in the report, these failures undermined the homicide investigation and must be quickly and thoroughly addressed."
The report then offers several mandates for the department, including overhauling its approach to officer-involved shootings, updating training and policies specifically related to shooting at vehicles, and giving police officers body cameras.
Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove was recently indicted for his handling of the case, specifically for allegedly trying to circumvent an executive order stipulating that all fatal police-involved shootings of unarmed people be passed up to Schneiderman's office.
Troy Mayor Patrick Madden release a response that disputes the report's findings. He believes the police department is unfairly caught in the middle of a dispute between Schneiderman and Abelove.
"We fundamentally disagree with the Attorney General’s findings contained within the SIPU report and are confident that the Troy Police Department’s operations and procedures remain consistent with best practices adhered to by law enforcement agencies across the state and nation," Madden said. "While we believe the factual inaccuracies and errors contained within the report unfairly put the Troy Police Department in a negative light, we will continue to fully cooperate with Attorney General’s office in their investigation and remain in communication to further discuss their findings.”
In statement, Troy Police Captain Dan DeWolf said, "The department fully supports the statement put out by the Mayor’s Office. We do not have any additional comment."
Michael Rose, the attorney for Cinthia Thevenin and the estate of Edson Thevenin, released a statement thanking the attorney general's office.
"We are confident that based on the forensic evidence, together with all of the other evidence that has come to light regarding Edson’s death, the truth will be told and justice will be done," the statement read. "It is our hope that the recommendations of the Attorney General’s Office are followed because there should never be another family that has to suffer the loss of a husband, son and father in such an unspeakable tragedy."
When French testified before a Rensselaer County grand jury, which cleared him of any wrongdoing, French did it without having waived immunity from prosecution. As a result, under current New York State statutory and case law, the attorney general's office say criminal prosecution of French for the shooting would be impossible.