Video shows NY officer fatally shooting 13-year-old on ground

Relatives of a 13-year-old boy who was shot and killed by police in central New York were demanding justice as members of their immigrant community from Myanmar aimed Sunday to press local officials for accountability.

The state attorney general was investigating the shooting of Nyah Mway, whom Utica police tackled to the ground and then shot after a foot chase Friday.

Police, who are conducting their own probe, released body camera video that showed a youth appearing to aim an object at them before they took him to the ground. The object was a BB gun that looked like an actual firearm, police said.

While the official investigations proceeded, Nyah Mway’s family and outraged community members demanded accountability for the death of the teen, who was born in Myanmar and is a member of its Karen ethnic minority.

Utica residents of Karen descent planned to meet Sunday afternoon with Utica Mayor Michael P. Galime, said Daniel Cribb, who works with a Karen community group. A message seeking comment was sent to the mayor’s office.

At a vigil Saturday night, Nyah Mway’s brother, Lah, said through an interpreter that he wouldn’t be satisfied until the officers “are put in jail,” reported.

Others at the vigil questioned officials’ account of the shooting.

“None of it adds up,” said Kay Klo, one of those at the gathering.

According to police, Nyah Mway and another 13-year-old boy were stopped Friday night because they fit descriptions of suspects in an armed robbery that had happened Thursday in the same area. One was also walking in the road, a violation of state traffic law.

The body camera video shows an officer saying he needs to pat them down for any weapons. Then one of the teens — identified as Nyah Mway — runs away, turns and appears to point a black item at them.

The officers believed it was a handgun, police said, but it was later determined to be a BB or pellet gun that closely resembled a Glock 17 Gen 5 handgun with a detachable magazine. Police released an image showing the device did not have an orange band on the barrel that many BB gun-makers have added in recent years to distinguish their products from firearms.

Officer Bryce Patterson caught up with Nyah Mway, tackled and punched him, and as the two wrestled on the ground, Officer Patrick Husnay opened fire, body camera video showed. Utica Police Chief Mark Williams said at a news conference Saturday that the single shot hit the youth in the chest.

A bystander video posted to Facebook also showed an officer tackling the teen and punching him as two other officers arrive, then a gunshot ringing out as the teen was on the ground.

Husnay, Patterson and Officer Andrew Citriniti were placed on paid administrative leave as the investigations go forward.

Under New York law, the attorney general’s office looks into every death at the hands of law enforcement. The Utica Police Department’s probe, meanwhile, will explore whether officers followed policies and training.

The police chief called the shooting “a tragic and traumatic incident for all involved.”

Utica’s population of 65,000 includes more than 4,200 people from Myanmar, according to The Center, a nonprofit group that helps to resettle refugees.

Karens are among groups warring with the military rulers of Myanmar, the Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma. The army ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in 2021 and suppressed widespread nonviolent protests that sought a return to democratic rule.

Nyah Mway and his family came to the United States nine years ago, according to speakers at the vigil.

“This country is supposed to be a country of freedom, a country of peace,” said one speaker, Yadana Oo. “What’s going on? Did we run from one persecutor to another?”

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