JAMESVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — After more than a year of investigating, the State Attorney General’s Office is clearing four police officers of any criminal wrongdoing in the deadly shooting of 17-year-old Judson Albahm in March of 2021.
The report was published Friday evening.
The report reads: “After conducting an exhaustive investigation, OSI concluded that a prosecutor would not be able to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial that the actions of the officers who shot Judson Albahm were justified.”
Albahm was killed after being shot multiple times by four officers from three agencies that responded: the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police and DeWitt Police.
The agencies were called to his home for a mental health call.
The Attorney General, which investigates any deadly shooting caused by an officer, determined the officers who fired thought he was aiming a pistol at them.
The report elaborates: “Some of the responding officers were informed that Judson suffered from mental health issues and that he owned air guns. However, many of the officers were not provided with this information, and some were in fact told by the dispatcher that two 911 callers had seen a man matching Judson’s description carrying a black handgun. After approximately 30 minutes of pursuit and conversation by different officers from the various agencies, Judson pointed the gun he was holding at two officers who had not been informed that he owned air guns.”
The office is suggesting a series of changes: better communication between agencies, body-worn cameras for the officers who didn’t have them and systemic changes to make sure imitation guns are marked as such.
“Losing a child is the greatest pain that a parent can endure, and I offer my deepest condolences to the Albahm family,” said Attorney General Letitia James in a statement. “This was a tragic incident that claimed the life of a young man struggling with mental health issues, and we must all do better to support those in need.”
She continued: “While this case did not warrant criminal charges against the officers based on the law, OSI provided recommendations to help prevent such an incident from occurring in the future. In addition to providing all officers with body-worn cameras and creating inter-agency protocols, it’s critical that we create stronger laws to regulate and differentiate imitation weapons. No one should be able to buy, sell, or own an imitation weapon that so closely resembles a real firearm, and it is imperative that we take action to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again.”
Albahm’s death led to weeks of protests from people who thought police officers went too far.