On July 3rd, New Rochelle experienced the trauma of an officer-involved shooting, bringing front and center once again complex and difficult questions of police procedure and racial justice, seen through the often competing perspectives of a highly-diverse city. Since then, various officials and I have commented on the facts as we have known them and on the evolving status of the investigation, but these updates do not adequately capture the depth of our feeling. Today, the entire City Council speaks as one to address the intense pain felt by so many residents, offer deep sympathies to the family of Jarrell Garris, and recommit ourselves to the ongoing challenge of building a strong, just, and united community. Each of us writing on our own might say things differently, but I hope that the unity of our expression carries a certain weight and will contribute in some small way to a constructive path forward. May we all choose words and actions that can best achieve peace and justice in the city we share and love. Our full statement follows below.
Statement of the New Rochelle City Council – July 14, 2023
Mayor Noam Bramson and Council Members Martha Lopez, Albert Tarantino, Yadira Ramos-Herbert, Ivar Hyden, Sara Kaye, and Liz Fried
It has been more than a week since the officer-involved shooting that ultimately claimed the life of Jarrell Garris. This incident is now the subject of an independent investigation by the New York State Attorney General – an investigation that the City of New Rochelle fully supports – and it is not possible for us as public officials to comment on the specific issues under review, including the chain of events, decisions, and actions on July 3rd. But we already know where that chain leads: a man is dead, a family is in grief, a community is shaken, and hard-won trust between the police and those they serve is being tested.
Before this tragedy, New Rochelle had made meaningful progress – from the utilization of body cameras, to the establishment of the Police-Community Partnership Board, to the engagement of the County’s Mobile Crisis Response Team, to the creation of the African-American Advisory Committee, to a host of other initiatives and practices encompassed within our Police Reform Plan. We know that the NRPD’s commitment to best practices and positive community engagement is genuine and is demonstrated by officers every single day. Yet the fact that our city is now in mourning makes it clear that all of us face continuing challenges.
For those of us in City leadership, it must be our responsibility to acknowledge the deep pain felt by so many of our residents, to understand the source of that pain, to welcome accountability, and to continue engaging in a thoughtful analysis of policies and procedures.
With the deepest sympathies for the family of Jarrell Garris, and with respect for all who have been touched by this tragedy, we recommit ourselves to the goal of a strong and united community, in which all people feel safe and respected, in which the vital role of our police earns trust and honor, and in which each of us strives to find common ground with our neighbors.