On Monday, a New York state trooper was arrested and charged with manslaughter for shooting and killing an unarmed motorist who refused to exit his vehicle at the end of a high-speed pursuit. At his hearing in Buffalo, where the killing occurred last year, Trooper Anthony Nigro pled not guilty to first and second-degree manslaughter and was subsequently released without bond.
The attorney general of New York has the ability to examine the use of deadly force by police enforcement, and he has initiated criminal charges against an officer in the fatal shooting of 38-year-old James Huber. Nigro’s union president backed him up, claiming the killing was warranted.
On February 12, 2022, a fatal incident was recorded by the trooper’s body camera. Huber, a native of North East, Pennsylvania, was first noticed by troopers who pursued him at speeds of over 100 mph on Interstate 90 near Buffalo.
The officers giving chase gave up when Huber’s car left the freeway, but Nigro caught up to him in downtown Buffalo and blocked his path with his cruiser. Nigro, a nearly 16-year veteran of the state police, is shown in body camera footage published by the state attorney general’s office holding his gun in front of him as he approaches the car.
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He then angrily tells Huber to leave the building. Huber shouts “Go away,” “never,” and “nope” as he walks away from the trooper who is shouting at him to get out of the car, his rifle held within inches from his head. Huber appears to put the car in a drive by reaching for the shifter.
As the car lurches backward, briefly pulling the trooper, the trooper yanks on the hood of Huber’s sweatshirt, fires two bullets, and then collapses to the ground. The vehicle drove out of view, into reverse, and slammed onto its side on the parking ramp.
Nigro can be seen sprinting to the vehicle on the body camera clip. He reports over the radio, “Driver’s been hit. Just good, thanks for asking. After being shot, Huber was pronounced dead at the scene. Democratic Attorney General Letitia James conducted the investigation into his death and filed the charges.
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Charles Murphy, president of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, stated in a statement that criminal charges against Nigro were unwarranted. Huber’s reckless driving, he claimed, “threatened the safety of innocent motorists.”
“Our understanding and review of the facts in this case confirm that, while the outcome was tragic, Trooper Nigro’s actions were in accordance with his training and the law, and that he was justified in his use of force,” Murphy said.
In a statement, the state police said they had cooperated with and would continue to comply with the attorney general’s inquiry. Survivor Cary Arnold of Pennsylvania speculated to the Buffalo News that Huber, who has a daughter with her, may have been on his way to a rally in favor of Canadian truckers against Covid-19 vaccine mandates.
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