News Ticker

City Statements Regarding Grand Jury Decision To Not Indict NRPD Officer McKenna In Death Of Kamal Flowers

A Westchester grand jury is not charging New Rochelle Police Officer Alec McKenna for shooting and killing of 24-year-old Kamal Flowers in June. Wednesday we spoke to Henderson Clarke, Kamal’s older brother, about the decision.

Several New Rochelle elected officials issued statements about the decision including Mayor Noam Bramson, City Manager Charles B. Strome, III and Councilwoman Yadira Ramos-Herbert (District 3).

Mayor Noam Bramson:

“On June 6, we gathered here to deliver the sobering news of an officer-involved shooting. At that time, we shared whatever information was available to us, expressed our heartfelt grief, and gave our support to a thorough review.

Earlier today, the Grand Jury empaneled to examine this case concluded its work by declining to issue an indictment, thereby ending the criminal portion of the review process. In so doing, the Grand Jury implicitly determined that the use of force in this incident fell within legal standards. New Rochelle’s leadership respects our system of law and the vital role of the Grand Jury within it, and we affirm our confidence in the professionalism, integrity, and commitment to service of the NRPD.

But we fully acknowledge the sharp limitations of this decision: it will not erase the tragedy of a young man losing his life; it will not relieve the anguish of the Flowers family or their friends; it will not lift and may even intensify the mistrust felt by many toward the criminal justice system; it will not ease the daily challenges confronting our city, our neighbors, and our Police Department; it will not alter the dangerous prevalence of guns in our society, which prey especially on marginalized communities; and it will not undo the profound effect of this tragedy on the whole of New Rochelle.

Moreover, the events of June 5 did not occur in a vacuum, but rather in the context of a nationwide conversation about bias and structural racism across a spectrum of American institutions.

So, while one phase of this process has concluded, the vital work of healing our community goes on, and now requires even greater focus and intensity. The challenge and the moral imperative for all of us is to be honest about our disparate reactions to the news of the day, without allowing these different perspectives to tear us apart. We must use this moment to find a better way forward together.

In this spirit, we are grateful for the hard work and service of New Rochelle’s Policing Review Committee, under the leadership of Council Member Yadira Ramos-Herbert with support and cooperation from the NRPD, and we look forward to exploring its recommendations. We are grateful, too, for the robust input, dialogue, guidance, and constructive criticism of civic and faith leaders throughout New Rochelle, especially among communities of color. And we are grateful for the many partners who join us in determination to magnify positive opportunities for young people to succeed, and to build a truly just and equitable city, with strong bonds of trust between the Police and the people they serve.

Affirmation, sorrow, relief, anger – all of these feelings are legitimate and reflect the diversity of which New Rochelle is so proud. It is not our purpose today to insist that anyone accept a narrative for June 5 that conflicts with their lived experience and sincere belief. Instead, let us strive to stand in each other’s shoes with respect and understanding. Let us take this opportunity to enlarge the process of acknowledging history, discovering truth, and achieving reconciliation. And then let us each do our part to advance the cause of justice, safety, and peace for all of our neighbors.”

City Manager Charles B. Strome, III

On behalf of the City Administration and the New Rochelle Police Department I would like to offer this brief statement in response to the Grand Jury decision.

There is understandable pain as a result of this incident in our community and it is no doubt a tragedy for the entire City.  I want to reaffirm both the City Administration’s and the Police Department’s desire and obligation to work together, alongside our elected officials, the clergy and community members to take the necessary steps to enhance the relationship between the community and our police officers and make our community even stronger.

Concurrently, this decision reaffirms my confidence in our Police Department.  I also want to reemphasize the commitment of the men and women of our Police department and assure the residents of our City that they will continue to uphold their oath of office with integrity and will continue to serve our community.

I will conclude by saying the grand jury process is now complete and an internal investigation of this incident will begin.  While the grand jury process has determined that there was no criminal action in this case, we will be reviewing the incident to ensure that the Department’s rules, regulations and procedures were followed.  Because of that impending investigation, and because the management of the City Administration and the Police Department falls within my purview as City Manager, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on the grand jury decision or the impending internal investigation.”

Councilmember Yadira Ramos-Herbert

“In June 2020, the City of New Rochelle began a comprehensive review of NRPD’s policing practices related to use of force, training, data, transparency, community engagement and equipment. This review required collaborative engagement by community members, City staff and NRPD, each with their own backgrounds and experience but all united by a deep love and belief that we are indeed #NewRoStrong.

Part of the process to reach the initial recommendations required that the committee engage in challenging conversations. An initial set of recommendations were recently submitted to the City Manager as part of the 2021 budgetary process and while implementation of the recommendations will likely lead to further challenging conversations about the best way to implement the recommendations, I am also confident our deep neighborly love and commitment to our beautiful City will allow us to rise above our differences and emerge united. We will be able to prove once again we are #NewRoStrong and able to work together to ensure equity and justice for all of our neighbors.”

The New Rochelle NAACP and Flowers family has been pushing for the state to investigate the incident, but the Attorney General’s Office declined because Flowers had a weapon on him. The Flowers family tell Black Westchester that they will never stop fighting for justice for Kamal Flowers.

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About AJ Woodson (2278 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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