BUFFALO, N.Y. -- While protesters held a rally in memory of a Buffalo man who was shot and killed by police, an attorney for the family of Rafael “Pito” Rivera said they're encountering obstacles while looking for answers.
Friends and family of Rivera stood on Thursday afternoon outside the Buffalo Police Department’s D District Station to demand justice for him.
Deputy Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said on Wednesday that the use of deadly force was necessary.
Buffalo Peacemakers attended Thursday’s rally to make sure things stayed under control.
“You have to look at it from all perspectives. Any homicide puts everyone in a different atmosphere,” said Murray Holman with Buffalo Peacemakers. “We’re here as Peacemakers so things don’t get out of control. People have the right to say and view their own points across both sides.”
The officer involved in the shooting has been identified as two-year veteran Elnur Karadzhaev. He’s been placed on administrative leave per police protocol.
The Rivera family attorney, Steven Cohen, said that police refused to allow the family to personally identify and inspect Rivera's body.
According to the attorney, a witness reported seeing Rivera running away from police into the parking lot where he was shot once, fell to the ground, got up and then was shot again.
Cohen says he called Commissioner Gramaglia twice to notify him he was coming to review video, but Gramaglia was not available when Cohen got there.
Cohen also said he was denied the opportunity to view Rivera's body.
“The more difficult it is to access evidence from authorities, the more this is beginning to look like a cover-up,” said Cohen.