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Defense attorney questions grand jury review of fatal police shooting in Cheektowaga

The attorney representing a Cheektowaga police officer in a deadly-use-of-force case is questioning acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty Jr.’s decision for a grand jury review of the fatal shooting last March.

Darrell P. Bosell, 34, of Java, died March 5 after he pointed a gun at the head of an officer parked in a patrol car outside a Genesee Street motel across from Buffalo Niagara International Airport. A dash cam in the police vehicle recorded Bosell holding a handgun as he approached the officer.

The officer, whose name has not been released, has waived his right to immunity and is scheduled to testify Wednesday, according to attorney Thomas H. Burton, who is representing the officer along with attorney Joseph M. LaTona.

“In the grand scheme of things, there are some police shootings that need to be reviewed. It is understandable that they are reviewed so it doesn’t look like there are things that are being swept under the rug. But there are some deadly force circumstances where it is so obvious, so clear, that what the officer did was justified and there is no need to put the officer through a full blown grand jury review,” Burton said.

The March shooting, he said, falls into the later category.

“This officer fired when a stolen, .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun was pointed inches from his head by someone with a history of mental health problems,” Burton said.

Flaherty declined to discuss this specific case, but said it has been standard protocol by the DA’s office to let grand juries review incidents involving the deadly use of force by police officers on civilians.

“Such an action is not a comment by us on whether an officer should be charged,” Flaherty said.

Burton added that Cheektowaga Police Chief David J. Zack reviewed the case and “administratively cleared” the officer of any wrong doing.