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Body Cam Footage Shows NYPD Officers Killed Win Rozario in Under Two Minutes: ‘This Was An Execution’

The disturbing videos show police made no effort to deescalate before killing the 19 year old as he was in the midst of a mental-health crisis.

A still from the body-worn camera of Officer Matthew Cianfrocco the day he shot Win Rozario. (New York Attorney General’s Office)

On Friday afternoon, the New York attorney general's Office of Special Investigation released body-worn camera footage from the NYPD officers who killed Win Rozario in his home on March 27. The footage shows that police killed 19-year-old Rozario within minutes of entering his home, made no effort whatsoever to de-escalate the situation, and came perilously close to shooting his mother as well.

In a short statement, the attorney general's office said that it had not concluded its investigation of Rozario's killing, and that "the release of this footage is not an expression of any opinion as to the guilt or innocence of any party in a criminal matter or any opinion as to how or whether any individual may be charged with a crime."

The release of the video comes a day after the Rozario family and supporters spoke out in a story in the CITY, calling for the NYPD itself to release the body-cam footage; less than a month since NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban announced that the officers who killed Kawaski Trawick in his home in a similar incident five years ago would face no discipline; and the same day that the NYPD held a press conference conceding that an officer had fired a gun during the department's raid of a student occupation on the Columbia campus earlier this week.

The NYPD has said very little about what happened to Rozario or the state of the investigation since the day of the killing. "Officers had to defend ourselves," said Chief of Patrol John Chell at a press conference after the killing, standing next to a photograph of the scissors police say Rozario was holding when he was shot to death. "They had no choice but to defend themselves, discharging their firearms," Chell said.

The NYPD had refused to identify the officers involved, but the attorney general's release identifies them. They are Matthew Cianfrocco, a nine-year veteran of the department, and Salvatore Alongi, who has been with the department for 15 years.

The videos from Cianfrocco and Alongi's cameras are extremely disturbing. 

The two officers speak with Win's younger brother, Utsho, for about 36 seconds at the front door of the home, ascertaining that Win called 911 himself, that he was having a mental health-related episode, that Win was 19 years old and Utsho, 17 years old. Then they move into the building's hall, following Utsho up the stairs.

"What's up pal, is anyone else in the house?" Alongi asks upon entering the apartment, where Win, wearing shorts, a sweatshirt, and rubber slip-on sandals, is in the kitchen with his mother, Notan Ava Costa, separated from the crowded living room by a doorway under a crucifix and devotional images. 

About 11 seconds after entering the apartment, Alongi moves into the kitchen, closes the distance between himself, Win, and his mother, as Win picks something up off the kitchen table. Win moves toward the officers, who quickly retreat to the living room, drawing their Tasers. About 17 seconds after entering the apartment, Alongi appears to shoot Win with his Taser as Win's mother screams, embracing her son's rigid frame. Cianfrocco has drawn his gun and is pointing it at Win.

"Let go of him!" Alongi bellows. "Back up." Win, too heavy for his mother to support alone, collapses to the floor.

A few seconds later, Win is back up, trying to talk to his mother. "Tell her to get the fuck out of the way," one of the officers shouts, as the other loudly orders, "Get out of the way! Now!"

In the background, Utsho, standing to the side with his hands raised, pleads softly: "Please do not shoot my mother." Less than 45 seconds have elapsed since the officers entered the apartment.

"I'm not going to, but…" one of the officers says. 

"Don't shoot," Costa begs, standing between her son and the cops. "Don't shoot."

"Get me another car over here real quick," Alongi says into his radio.

"Get out of the way!" an officer shouts sharply; Costa steps to the side, holding a hand out to the officer, and reveals Win, at the far end of the kitchen, standing motionless. Cianfrocco immediately shoots him with a second Taser. Less than a minute has passed since the officers entered the apartment. 

Win flinches in pain, as his mother screams. Win grabs something from the kitchen table and approaches the officers with a determined look on his face. The police retreat into the living room. "Get down!" Cianfrocco orders Win, drawing his gun and pointing it at Win. Costa follows him into the living room, and as she converges with her son in Cianfrocco's camera's line of sight, Cianfrocco fires his gun. A minute and seven seconds have passed since the officers entered the apartment. 

Win's mother, distraught, embraces him. Her other son, Utsho, rushes to them, shouting, "Mom, mom!" trying to pull her away from Win. "Get out of the way!" Cianfrocco shouts repeatedly, his gun still pointed at the three family members. Alongi has drawn his gun as well, but appears to be struggling to load a clip.

"Please do not shoot my mom," Utsho says, as they continue to struggle in the doorway.

"Get her out of the way!" Cianfrocco says. "I'm so sorry," Utsho sobs. He and his mother collapse in the doorway, between the officers and Win, leaving Win once again exposed, in the kitchen, still holding something. 

"Put it down!" Cianfrocco orders, and immediately fires another shot. Win staggers back. About a minute and 36 seconds have elapsed since the officers entered the apartment. 

"Put it down," Cianfrocco repeats, and shoots at Win again. Win staggers again. Cianfrocco fires a third time, and a fourth, and Win doubles over and collapses to the floor. 

"Don't shoot!" his mother wails again from the floor, as the audio cuts out and the video selection goes dark, less than two minutes after police entered the apartment.

A public-facing NYPD database shows that Alongi is still assigned to the 102nd Precinct, which includes Ozone Park. Cianfrocco is listed as having been assigned since April 18 to the Quartermaster Section, the NYPD's supply department, which the Los Angeles Times described in 2020 as the NYPD's "central warehouse for pens, legal pads, paper towels, American flags and the other supplies of everyday police office work."

Rozario's family and their supporters released statements Friday following the release of the videos. "It's been over a month since we lost Win and our hearts are broken," a statement attributed to his mother, brother, and father reads. "We feel his absence every day. Reliving this is traumatic and painful. We wish it wasn't necessary for the video to be public. The video that was released makes it clear that Win should be alive but the police came and murdered him in our kitchen without any care for him or us. The police created a crisis and killed him in cold blood. The officers should be fired and prosecuted for murder as soon as possible."

"This was an execution," Loyda Colon, executive director of the Justice Committee, which works with the families of people killed by the police to achieve accountability for police killings, said in a statement Friday. "The cops made no attempt to de-escalate the crisis they created, or engage with Win and his family other than to bark orders, Tase, and shoot. This was a cold-blooded murder where they killed Win in minutes, Tasering and shooting him repeatedly. They were so reckless, it's a miracle they didn't also kill Win's mother and brother. Officers Salvatore Alongi and Matthew Cianfrocco need to be suspended without pay immediately, fired, and prosecuted."

What is the status of the NYPD's investigation into the shooting? Why didn't the department produce the body-worn camera video itself, as its own policies suggest it should have last month? Hell Gate asked the police department's public information office. It did not respond.

Asked what the mayor made of the footage, his office also did not immediately respond.

[UPDATE / 7:40 p.m.] After publication, City Hall responded with the following statement from the mayor:

"My heart is broken and I share the profound pain felt by New Yorkers after watching the tragic video of the incident resulting in the death of Winn Rozario. The thought of a parent burying their child, let alone witnessing their child's final moments, is unimaginable. Our deepest condolences go out to Winn’s friends, family, and loved ones during this unfathomably difficult time. As a young man, and throughout my career as a former police officer and as an elected official, I’ve dedicated my career to police reform and fostering improved relationships between our officers and the communities they serve. That’s why I helped 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care to fight for police reform from within the system. As your mayor, I am committed to continuing this lifelong mission and ensuring that Winn’s death is not in vain. While the Attorney General’s investigation is still ongoing, I want to be clear that her office has New York City’s full cooperation. Out of respect for the process, I will avoid commenting any further, except to underscore the critical importance of learning from this profound loss and using it as a catalyst for positive change, particularly in how we police and care for those living with severe mental illness."

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