Rensselaer DA Asked to Step Aside in McDonald Shooting

emergency lights and road

The Rensselaer County DA's office is being asked to step aside from the investigation into last week's shooting of Dahmeek McDonald by a Troy police officer.  

Attorney Mark Mishler, who is representing McDonald and his family, wants DA Joel Abelove to recuse himself from the case, because of the on-going investigation into Abelove's handling of a fatal police shooting last year.  

"It is impossible for you or your office to conduct a fair and impartial investigation of this matter," Mishler writes.  "In addition, it is inconceivable that the public could have any confidence in the integrity of any investigation into this incident in which you or your office are involved."

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office is still in the midst of investigating Abelove's handling of the fatal April, 2016 shooting of Edson Thevenin.  A grand jury declined to file any charges against Sgt. Randall French in that case.  That decision came only a week after the shooting.

Mishler is asking Abelove to step aside and ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo to issue an Executive Order granting the Attorney General's office authority to conduct a "proper" investigation.

McDonald was injured when he was shot following "a series of events" that followed a traffic stop at 8th and Rensselaer Streets on August 15.  Police Chief John Tedesco has not yet said whether he believes the shooting was justified.  The officers involved are on paid administrative leave.

Abelove released a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying "While I am not able to comment on a pending investigation, I agree with DAASNY President and Oneida County DA Scott McNamara, who stated in a Times Union article on August 19th his belief that District Attorneys can handle these types of cases "fairly and dispose of them properly."

photo:  Getty Images

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