No charges in Buffalo officer-involved shooting

Posted at 11:27 AM, Dec 03, 2018

No charges will be filed against the officers involved in the September shooting death of Rafael Rivera.

The announcement was made Monday morning by Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.

Rivera was shot dead by an officer just after 3:00 a.m. on September 12, on Buffalo's West Side.

The Erie County DA's office has been investigating ever since, taking three separate statements from the officer. DA Flynn says the officer's statements were consistent. Statements were also taken from four civilian witnesses and four officers who responded to the scene. A security guard who witnessed the shooting also gave statements to the Buffalo Police Department and the DA's office.

Buffalo police Captain Jeff Rinaldo said Rivera had a loaded handgun and ignored a number of requests to drop the gun. Flynn says a gun was recovered at the scene, loaded with 15 rounds. A toxicology report showed signs of multiple substances, including cocaine and alcohol, in Rivera's system.

Flynn says an investigation revealed Rivera was running from police with a gun in his right hand. At one point, Rivera allegedly turned toward the officer. The officer fired six shots, three of which struck Rivera. A gun was found near where Rivera fell, and testing showed only Rivera's DNA on the weapon.

Surveillance video from the PUSH Buffalo building, the old PS 77 on Plymouth Avenue, has been obtained by an attorney representing Rivera's family.  They plan on filing a lawsuit against the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Police Department.

Denice Rivera is seeking damagesclaiming her son's death was the, "result of intentional and/or negligent, careless, reckless and otherwise tortious conduct of the Buffalo Police Department and City of Buffalo."

The Buffalo Police Homicide and Internal Affairs units were both doing investigations.  The results of those investigations remain unclear.

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