Albany Police: Officer-involved shooting justified

ALBANY, N.Y. (WRGB) - More than two weeks after Albany police were involved in a chase that resulted in an armed Albany teen being shot, an internal investigation says the officer who fired his gun was justified in doing so.

Police showed a presentation of timelines and surveillance footage on Thursday used as evidence to investigate the shooting that left a 19-year-old paralyzed from the waist down.

"It is a very traumatic experience to everyone involved and we're very sensitive to that," said new Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins.

Hawkins spoke out about the department's investigation into the shooting of 19-year-old Ellazar Williams.

"In this case, the use of force, per our internal investigation, was necessary," Hawkins said.

Commander Michael Basile, acting chief at the time, shared the findings. He showed a timeline of the incident, a map of Williams' path, and a photo and video of him, police say, concealing a weapon - at that time, reported as a handgun by a store owner whose 911 call police shared.

"Someone came with a gun outside. They're growing glass and stuff," the woman says in the call.

The weapon was later discovered to be a knife, which police believe Williams recovered from his girlfriend's house. Police say detectives on the street identified Williams from the 911 description, and the chase began.

Video shows detectives driving after Williams, who runs into a courtyard, and is followed by a detective on foot.

"At one point, Mr. Williams trips," Basile said.

Police say Williams dropped his knife, but quickly recovered it. Video shows Williams falling, getting up, and starting to run again, before going back down when shot by Detective James Olson.

"The detective, recognizing the threat and fearing for his safety, is forced to fire two rounds from his duty weapon," Basile said.

When asked if Williams was running toward Olsen, Basile could not specify.

"As he re-armed himself and was getting up, the detective, being in close proximity, had no choice but to fire his weapon to cease Mr. Williams' actions."

Police say Williams was less than 10 feet away from Olsen. Williams was shot once in his rear left shoulder. CBS6 asked if any detectives were wearing body cameras.

"In this particular case this evening, they would have had body worn cameras on but we have not supplied them with them yet," Basile said.

Basile says that's all relative to the original timeline of the body cameras, and they will roll out to all officers by the end of this month. Olsen did not have a taser on him. CBS6 told not all department members are required to carry them.

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