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Coalition for 'just' investment in Pittsfield criticizes police shooting report

Miguel Estrella was shot and killed by a police officer in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on March 25, 2022.
Courtesy
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Dashine Moore
Miguel Estrella was shot and killed by a police officer in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on March 25, 2022.

A coalition of groups calling for more transparency from Pittsfield police said the department's investigation of the shooting of Miguel Estrella is not an independent look at what happened.

The preliminary police investigation released this week found the shooting of the 22-year-old Estrella was in compliance with state law, the department's use of force guidelines — and was in response to an "imminent deadly threat."

The report did not include interviews with anyone outside of the police who witnessed the shooting. Nor did it include a transcript of the 911 calls for help.

Meg Bossong, an organizer with Invest in Pittsfield, said when police departments police themselves in an internal investigation — this report is the expected outcome.

"It attempts to make the argument that Miguel's death was not only unavoidable in this circumstance, but that it was somehow correct," Bossong said. "And what we are saying is that there are a range of policies, investments, protocols and choices that the city could be making that would have made Miguel's death preventable."

Bossong said what's needed is a mental health response separate from the police.

"He needed support. He needed to be connected to mental health resources in an accessible way before that ever happened," she said about Estrella's shooting.

The police report stated, "We strive for transparency to the extent permitted by statute, policy and best practices in order to build and maintain the trust of the citizens we protect."

The two police officers who responded to the call to help Estrella were place on administrative leave after the shooting. Now they are on "limited duty," officials said.

The police are expected to release their final report within weeks. A separate investigation by the Berkshire County District Attorney's office is still ongoing.

Nancy Eve Cohen is a senior reporter focusing on Berkshire County. Earlier in her career she was NPR’s Midwest editor in Washington, D.C., managing editor of the Northeast Environmental Hub and recorded sound for TV networks on global assignments, including the war in Sarajevo and an interview with Fidel Castro.
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