Troy Council Committee Approves Settlement in Thevenin Case

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Residents of Troy expressed outrage Thursday night as city council moved forward with a settlement with the family of a man shot dead by a police officer during a traffic stop in 2016.

After nearly an hour of passionate testimony from residents, the Troy City Council finance committee on Thursday advanced a $ 1.55 million settlement between the city and Edson Thevenin’s family.

On April 17, 2016, Thevenin, who was suspected of drunk driving, was shot and killed by Police Sgt. Troy on several occasions. French Randall.

French, who died of COVID-19 last year, was cleared by a grand jury five days after the shooting, but the alleged expedited process by then Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove drew attention from the office of the former state attorney. General Eric Schneiderman.

A report from the GA office found French’s testimony unreliable, the Troy Police Department’s investigation insufficient, and made several policy recommendations. Abelove was charged with official misconduct in connection with the incident and was later acquitted.

In a 2018 internal affairs survey disclosed to the press in 2019, French was convicted of lying about the events of the case, when he intentionally stepped in front of Thevenin’s car as he fired into the vehicle’s windshield, killing the 36-year-old man. years who was later confirmed intoxicated.

A town memorandum in support of the settlement with Thevenin’s family called the shooting justified, failing to blame the sergeant. French or thévenin. It states in part:

“The city has never backed down from its position that the murder – however tragic and regrettable – was legal.”

Bob Blackmon, president of the Rensselaer County Justice Center, was the first to speak to counsel about the memo.

“It ignores the findings of the internal review report. He ignores the findings of the Attorney General. He ignores the testimony of the citizen eyewitness to the murder of Mr. Thevenin. So, and I hesitate to say it, so the cover-up and the lies continue, ”Blackmon said.

Others viewed the $ 1.55 million settlement as a paltry sum to offer a family while describing a story they say ignores the findings of the investigation.

Gertha Dupas is Thévenin’s mother.

“No amount of money will rid you, Troy, New York, of the blame. Or make me feel arrested in the pursuit of justice for my son. And think that a meager settlement is human… this statement about a human being, paying the settlement for my son… it’s heartbreaking… it’s almost like a stab in the heart because there is no amount of money that could justify my son’s death, especially when justice is not done, ”said Dupas.

Messiah Cooper, whose nephew Dahmeek McDonald was shot and injured by police during a traffic stop in 2017, asked when that would be enough.

“It’s like, what is it?” Are there two sets of laws? Do I live in two Americas? Where do I turn? “Asked Cooper.” We’re having a hard time, not just in Troy but across the country, when you all think you can pay us for killing our babies. You all think you can. pay for killing our fucking babies! It’s crazy! “

Responding to the residents’ wrath, town society attorney Rick Morrissey announced he was the one who wrote the note.

“I stand by the memo. I believe it is based on the evidence. I would like to say a word, however. I have listened intently to Mr Thevenin’s mother and recognize that his death is a tragedy for his family, his children, his wife and the city of Troy, ”said Morrissey.

There was little board discussion before the settlement was advanced out of the committee, although majority Democrat Sue Steele asked Morrissey if in the future he would clarify that such memoranda do not reflect the position of the Council. municipal Council.

“So it’s clear to the public that these are indeed your words, your recommendation for the legislation,” Steele said.

“I have no problem with that,” Morrissey said.

Now out of committee, the settlement agreement will have to be approved by city council.

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