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New York, NY: Nearly 40 New York City and State elected officials have come together to call for justice and impartiality in the case of Allan Feliz, who was tragically shot and killed by NYPD Lt. Jonathan Rivera four years ago after illegally detaining him during a traffic stop. In a letter delivered to Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban, the group expressed deep concerns about the possibility of the NYPD removing the discipline case against Lt. Rivera from Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) jurisdiction, in spite of the fact that the CCRB Board substantiated fire-able charges against him in May of this year.
Notably, nearly half of the signatories are Latinx policymakers, who are calling on the first Latinx NYPD Commissioner to do right by the Feliz family and allow the CCRB process to move forward.
“Edward Caban has been lauded as the first-ever Latino NYPD Commissioner,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Now, I and other Latino elected leaders are watching closely to see if he will stand for police accountability when it comes to police misconduct and abuse in the communities we serve. The least the Commissioner can do at this crucial moment in the Allan Feliz case is allow the CCRB to do their work impartially and without interference.”
The letter’s signatories, including Councilmember Carmen De La Rosa (the councilmember for the district Mr. Feliz and his family are from), Senator Jessica Ramos, and members of the Black Latino and Asian and Progressive Caucuses of the City Council, among others, and others, stress the importance of allowing the CCRB to carry out its duty without interference.
“The Feliz family submitted a complaint with the CCRB to ensure an independent and impartial investigation and prosecution of this case, as is the role of the CCRB in our City,” the letter states. “If the NYPD Commissioner takes the prosecution of this case out of the hands of the CCRB and puts it in the hands of the NYPD, it would constitute a grave injustice to the Feliz family and would undermine public faith in the NYPD and government.”
The group also raised questions about Lt. Rivera's history of misconduct, which has already cost the City $195,000 in civil suit settlements, and the $60,000 salary increase since he shot and killed Allan Feliz in 2019.
“In 2019, my constituent Allan Feliz was unjustly killed, by NYPD Lt Jonathan Rivera,” said Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, who represents the district Allan and his family are from. “Allan's life was cut short by a traffic stop that unnecessarily escalated with the NYPD using improper force. Today, I join dozens of elected leaders in calling for the CCRB prosecution of Lt. Rivera to move forward without interference. Nothing will completely heal the pain Allan's family and our community feel from his passing, but it is essential that justice is served.”
October 17, 2023 will mark four years since the fatal encounter between Allan Feliz––a father and longtime Washington Heights resident––and NYPD Officers Michelle Almanzer and Edward Barrett, and Lt. Jonathan Rivera, who was a sergeant at the time. His surviving family continues to mourn the loss of their brother and father and is committed to honoring his memory. “It’s maddening the NYPD would try to take this case from CCRB, but not surprising,” said Samy Feliz, brother of Allan Feliz. “The NYPD obstructed the CCRB’s investigation for over two years, then chose not to discipline any of the officers involved in my brother’s murder even though body-camera footage clearly shows the illegal detention and the close-range shot to the chest that killed Allan. It’s been clear from the beginning that the NYPD would do everything in its power to protect my brother’s killers. My family is grateful to the elected officials who are standing with us to demand the CCRB be allowed to move forward with its prosecution of Lt. Jonathan Rivera for murdering my brother.”
The coalition of elected officials is united in its request that Mayor Eric Adams and Commissioner Edward Caban allow the CCRB to move forward with its prosecution of Lt. Rivera. They seek confirmation that the NYPD Commissioner will not remove the case from the CCRB before Oct. 17, 2023 - the 4-year anniversary of Mr. Feliz’s death.
The full letter can be found here.
“During the CCRB’s thorough investigation, they substantiated fireable charges against Lt. Jonathan Rivera. Now, the NYPD is trying to put its thumb on the scales of justice to ensure one of their own goes unpunished for serious abuses of power,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif. “For two years, the Feliz family has sought justice to ensure the violence perpetrated against their loved one is never again allowed to happen. The NYPD has dragged its feet throughout this investigation to shield a violent cop from accountability, doing a disservice to the Feliz family and all New Yorkers. The CCRB must be allowed to follow through on its recommendation to allow justice to be served.”
“If Commissioner Caban removes the Allan Feliz case from the CCRB, it will be a blatantly undemocratic move to shield Lt. Rivera from discipline,” said Yul-san Liem, representative of the Justice Committee. “The Feliz family has already suffered through years of obstruction and delays from the NYPD and the Lieutenants Benevolent Association - the police union representing Lt. Rivera, on top of losing their loved one to the NYPD in an incredibly violent and degrading manner. The Commissioner must not continue this abusive, inhumane trend and must instead allow the CCRB to move forward with its prosecution of Rivera.”
On October 17, 2019, NYPD Lt. Jonathan Rivera (who was a sergeant at the time) and Officers Edward Barrett and Michelle Almanzar stopped Allan Feliz on the corner of E 211 St and Bainbridge Ave in the Bronx. The officers claim they made the stop for a seatbelt violation, but body-worn camera footage shows Mr. Feliz was wearing his seatbelt, and Officer Barrett conceded this upon approaching the car. Rather than allow Mr. Feliz to drive away, the officers asked Mr. Feliz to provide his identification and registration and ordered him to step out of the car, to which Mr. Feliz complied.
As Mr. Feliz calmly returned to his car, Officer Barrett and Sgt. Rivera immediately began to beat him, while Officer Almanzar did nothing to intervene. Within seconds, Sgt. Rivera climbed into the vehicle, on top of Mr. Feliz’s passenger, threatened to shoot Mr. Feliz, and tased him. Sgt. Rivera then shot Mr. Feliz once in the chest at close range. After Mr. Feliz was shot, Officer Barrett yanked Mr. Feliz’s limp body from the car, exposing his genitals. None of the officers immediately covered Mr. Feliz or provided medical aid. Instead, they left Mr. Feliz to bleed out, cuffed, and exposed.
In 2020, Mr. Feliz’s brother, Samy Feliz, filed a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board. The NYPD stalled the CCRB process by dragging their Force Investigation Division investigation out for over two years before determining “no wrongdoing.” The CCRB substantiated fire-able charges against Lt. Rivera in May 2023. In an attempt to change that outcome, the Lieutenants Benevolent Association - which is representing Lt. Rivera - filed a baseless request for the CCRB to re-open its investigation, which the CCRB rejected. The Feliz family recently learned the NYPD is considering removing the case from CCRB jurisdiction. The CCRB process is the last chance the Feliz family has to ensure Sgt. Rivera and Officers Barrett and Almanzar are fired for killing Allan Feliz.