Troy police begin their investigation despite the existence of an Executive Order requiring local police and prosecutors to turn over to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) any investigation in which an unarmed civilian is killed by police officers.
From The New York Times: "The order specifically requires that a district attorney obtain state authorizations before making grand jury presentations in cases where civilians were “unarmed” or where there is a question about whether the person was armed or dangerous.
Mr. Abelove is on record as protesting these restrictions. In an op-ed article published last summer in The Times Union, for example, he mocked the order, arguing that “armed” had not been fully defined, and made other complaints. But as Mr. Schneiderman’s lawsuit makes clear, Mr. Abelove not only violated the order but ignored its central purpose — to show the public that such investigations are being conducted fairly and without bias."1
In their investigation, the Troy PD attempts to control the narrative of the incident, keeping out information that contradicted Sergeant Randall French’s account.
For instance, three civilian witnesses and several police officers were at the scene during and immediately after the shooting. Two of the three witnesses are told by a police officer to “get the fuck out of here,” and are not identified or questioned... until after the April 22, 2017 grand jury presentation.2 The witness testimony gathered later disputes the description of events provided by Sergeant French.
Troy police officers interview witness Phillip Gross, without asking crucial questions about the movement and positions of the cars and of French. Gross gives vague answers and later, in a subsequent interview with the OAG, states that he was pressured and intimidated by the police interviewers and that he observed Mr. Thevenin’s car roll toward French only AFTER the shooting stopped. 3 Gross later tells supporters of the Thevenin family that he and his auto business have been severely harassed by the TPD since giving his statement to the OAG.