Exclusive: Driver In Fatal New Rochelle Police Shooting Speaks Out: 'We Were Both Afraid... It Wasn't Anything Normal'
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - The driver involved in a fatal New Rochelle police shooting last month is breaking his silence.
Many in the community are demanding the case be reassigned from the local DA to the state attorney general.
"It was a very tragic situation," said Isa Muhammad. He has a picture of Kamal Flowers on his shirt, and his friend's June 5 shooting death by New Rochelle police on his mind.
"I didn't know that would be the last day I would see him," Muhammad told CBS2's Tony Aiello.
New Rochelle police released surveillance video soon after the June 5 incident.
Muhammad says he was driving Flowers to a friend's house when police, who'd been following, pulled them over.
Police say the car had been reported earlier that week as suspicious.
"I seen the police that same day, so I know it's not that they were looking for the car," Muhammad said. "They pulled us over in the darkest area possible that they can pull us over."
Muhammad and his attorney allege the men were profiled.
"If the police weren't, in my opinion, profiling, Mr. Flowers would be here today and Mr. Muhammad wouldn't suffer from post-traumatic stress," said attorney Richard St. Paul.
Flowers was 24, and had just been released from prison. Moments after the car was pulled over, Flowers ran, and cops gave chase.
Muhammad quickly pulled away.
"We were both afraid, because we knew it wasn't anything normal," Muhammad said.
About 12 seconds elapsed between the stop, Flowers running off and Muhammad driving away.
He claims that in that time, he heard the cop use a racial slur.
"I heard him say 'Go catch that n******," Muhammad said.
NRPD says the DA is aware of this claim, and "There is nothing that leads us to believe officers made any comment of this nature."
As an officer chased Flowers, he radioed a warning.
"He's got a gun! He's got a gun!" the officer said.
The cop first used his stun gun, and this his firearm, fatally shooting Flowers.
Police say Flowers displayed a handgun at the officer in pursuit. Aiello asked Muhammad about that.
"I've... I don't know Kamal for carrying a gun," he said.
The entire city council has urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to assign the investigation to Attorney General Letitia James.
"If we get an investigation from the attorney general's office that is independent and robust, the truth is the truth, and we must accept it and move on," said Rev Mark McLean of New Rochelle NAACP.
The New Rochelle PBA says it welcomes any investigaiton. It called the death of Kamal Flowers a "tragic outcome."
Pointing to Flowers' weaopn, the PBA says "We are supremely grateful that our brother survived this life-threatening encounter."
It was New Rochelle's first officer-involved shooting in seven years.
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