Orange County News
For Immediate Release Contact: Christopher Borek
August 30, 2020 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c
DA David Hoovler and City of Middletown Police Chief John Ewanciw Announce Protocol That Will Be Followed in Investigation of
Police-Involved Shooting in the City of Middletown
District Attorney’s Office to Lead Investigation
New York State Police to Aid in Investigation, Process Scene, and Perform all Forensic Tests
New York State Attorney General Notified
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler, and City of Middletown Police Chief John Ewanciw announced today the protocol that will be used in the investigation of an incident involving both a police officer and a civilian being shot which occurred on August 29, 2020, in the City of Middletown.
On August 29, 2020, at approximately 7:42 pm, a uniformed City of Middletown police officer in a marked police car was flagged down by residents of a home on Myrtle Avenue. The initial investigation suggests that the City of Middletown police officer was shot and then returned fire, injuring the initial shooter. Both the police officer and the injured civilian are being treated at area hospitals.
In 2015, the District Attorney’s Office and all Orange County police chiefs adopted a protocol to be used when police officers use deadly physical force that results in death or serious physical injury to a suspect or bystander. The protocol designates the Orange County District Attorney’s Office as the “lead agency” in an officer-involved fatality investigation and provides that the New York State Police will be contacted and will be asked to assist the District Attorney in the investigation. The New York State Police are to process the scene of the incident to preserve all forensic evidence and will perform forensic analysis. The protocol is designed to enhance public confidence in the outcome of officer-involved fatality investigations, by removing the “involved police agency” from the investigation.
At the request of and with the consent of the City of Middletown Police Department, the protocol was activated in this investigation. New York State Police officers responded to the scene of the shooting and have recovered evidence and interviewed witnesses. District Attorney Hoovler personally responded to the scene along with Assistant District Attorneys and a District Attorney’s Office criminal investigators. The City of Middletown Police Department is fully cooperating in the investigation and, pursuant to the protocol, safeguarded the scene until the State Police arrived.
Pursuant to an Executive Order signed by Governor Cuomo, which was later codified, certain police-involved shootings are investigated by the New York State Attorney General’s Office. After being briefed on the incident, District Attorney Hoovler spoke to an Assistant Attorney General, who agreed that the Orange County District Attorney’s Office should continue its investigation. District Attorney Hoovler stated that he would keep the Attorney General’s Office updated as the investigation progresses. The Executive Order does not apply to instances where the deceased was armed”.
District Attorney Hoovler stated that the District Attorney’s Office will conduct two parallel investigations in this matter. One will consist of an investigation before an Orange County grand jury. The second will be an investigation conducted within the District Attorney’s Office. Although secrecy rules governing grand jury proceedings prevent some findings of the grand jury from being revealed, particularly in instances where no charges are authorized, no such rules govern the District Attorney’s Office’s investigation. The District Attorney will make public a report of his office’s finding at the conclusion of the investigation. In light of the time it takes to obtain results from scientific tests such as toxicology reports, District Attorney Hoovler anticipates that the investigations will take three to five months to complete.
“The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is committed to ensuring that a transparent investigation is conducted into this matter,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “Now, more than ever, it is essential that those who illegally use weapons are held accountable and it is equally important that the public has confidence in the integrity of the investigation and the prosecutorial process.”
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the City of Middletown Police Department and the New York State Police for their cooperation in the investigation.
A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.