August 2020 – An update to the case against the NYPD for their killing of a Dominican father nearly one year ago. The interview originally was broadcast on Telemundo47.
On October 17, 2019, officers with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) stopped a vehicle driven by Allan James Feliz. After running a warrant search, officers instructed Mr. Feliz to exit the vehicle. A scuffle ensued, leading officers to attempt to subdue Mr. Feliz.
One officer on the scene drew his service weapon and fired at Mr. Feliz, mortally wounding him. Mr. Feliz died on his way to the hospital. Witness accounts indicate that NYPD officers used unreasonable force in the encounter, and Mr. Feliz’s surviving family members filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the department.
Family Response to Lawsuit Delay
Female Anchor: “Nearly 10 months have passed since the death of Allan James Feliz, a Dominican father who was shot by the police in the Bronx. As of today, we still don’t know whether the State Attorney General will file criminal charges against the police officers involved, even though the attorney for the family assures us that the Attorney General concluded their investigation of this incident months ago. Our investigative reporter, Pablo Gutierrez, has followed this case very closely since the events occurred, and today he is bringing us new details regarding this situation. Let’s hear what he has to say. Go ahead.”
Pablo Gutierrez: “Good evening. It’s true that the perceived indecision by the Attorney General of this state has been like salt on an open wound for this family for nearly a year. Up to now, the case of Allan James Feliz has been in legal limbo and it requires answers.“
Mother of Allan James Feliz: “It destroyed our lives. It devastated us completely.” [Video of policeman pulling Feliz out of the car.]
Feliz on video: [In English] “Don’t shoot me!”
Pablo Gutierrez: “’Don’t shoot me!’ That was the plea made in October 2019 by Allan James Feliz to the police officers who attempted to arrest him and who caused his death.”
Sister of Feliz: “My brother was not armed. He didn’t present any threat to the officers.”
Pablo Gutierrez: “The investigation of these events was placed in the hands of the New York State Attorney General, Leticia James. Her office, on February 25 of this year, notified the family and their attorney that they had completed their investigation, in this email [email shown onscreen]. More than 5 months have passed, and still the Attorney General has not announced the results of that investigation.”
Attorney Robert Vilensky: [In English] “Every day that they don’t know….” [Reporter begins translating into Spanish.]
Pablo Gutierrez: “Every day that passes that the Attorney General does not make a decision is one more day of pain for this family, said their attorney. We need to know if charges will be filed against these officers or not.”
Sister of Feliz: “We can’t bear this pain. It’s intolerable. We can’t sleep. Our consciences weigh on us; how can I say that my brother is at peace?”
Pablo Gutierrez: “The traffic stop that led to the death of this young Dominican man happened because, supposedly, he was not wearing his seat belt. But police body cameras disprove that. The department also initially indicated that he had 3 outstanding warrants for unpaid tickets. But those warrants were against his brother, Sammy Feliz, who was not travelling with this young man at the time these events occurred, according to court documents.”
Mother of Feliz: “When I recognized that it was my son, he had bruises on the side of his face, here [points to the left side of her face] from so many blows that the police officer gave him, and the other officer hitting him with the Taser gun. What more did they want? They had already subdued him. To give him the coup de grace? To kill him?”
Pablo Gutierrez: “Regarding the officer who shot this young father, he is identified as Sergeant Jonathan G. Rivera, who has several other accusations against him, according to court documents, including a pending case regarding having shot 16 times at a young man who was 15 years old in 2016, as you can see, in this recording from a surveillance camera. The victim survived, but was left completely paralyzed.”
Sister: “That officer keeps killing, if you look at his history. So how long will we have an assassin patrolling the streets?”
Pablo Gutierrez: “Regarding the apparent indecision about this case, the office of the Attorney General of New York responded as follows: “The Special Investigative Unit promises to execute detailed and exhaustive investigations… Again, we send our condolences to the Feliz family and we will continue working 24 hours a day to give them the answers they deserve.”
Mother of Feliz: “On the weekends, we always go to the cemetery, to look for an answer in my heart that keeps asking me, ‘Where is my son? Is he well?’ And I can’t find the answer, because there is no peace. There is no inner peace, there is no peace.”
Pablo Gutierrez: “There is no peace. As for Sergeant Rivera, the City of New York has already paid out a settlement for a complaint naming him. The Feliz family continues waiting for answers, and meanwhile, this officer continues patrolling the streets of the Bronx. Back to you.”
The lawsuit comes on the back of increased protests against police brutality across the city of New York and the nation.