Gov. Explores Investigation Options in Cop Shooting

Gov. David Paterson will meet with community leaders today as he decides whether to call for an independent investigation into the shooting death of NYPD officer Omar Edwards.

The governor's meeting is part of the process to help decide if an independent, state run, investigation is necessary, or as Gov. Paterson once said, if it makes people "more comfortable" because he wants "everyone satisfied" with the results.

Officer Omar Edwards, 25, was in street clothes on May 28 when he chased a man who broke into his car in East Harlem. Police said plainclothes officers ordered the pair to halt. When Edwards turned toward them with his gun out, one of the officers shot him.

Concerns about race and police procedures still overwhelm public sentiment one day after he was buried.

Why was Officer Edwards shot? Was he given enough time to identify himself as a police officer and would he still be alive today if he was white?

Paterson's goal to satisfy everyone is admirable, but it may not be realistic. Reverend Al Sharpton has already put the weight of his National Action Network behind the push for an independent investigation. Sharpton said this tragic situation has forced the city to deal with "race and law enforcement" as a "mainstream issue in the city."

Reverend Sharpton hosted a forum Thursday night in Harlem that had Manhattan District Attorney hopefuls Richard Aborn, Cy Vance, and Leslie Crocker Snyder in attendance.  With longtime Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau retiring, one of these three could lead a prosecution against Edwards' shooter, police officer Andrew Dunton.

Edwards was shot three times by Dunton, marking the first time Officer Dunton had fired his gun.

Dunton had four civilian complaints filed against him and the sergeant he was with the night of the shooting had 13 complaints on his record, the New York Daily News reported. The sergeant recently completed a monitoring program for officers who have a lot of complaints.

Reverend Paul Jervis said Officer Dunton also "needs our prayers" as hundreds of people packed Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church during Edwards funeral on Thursday. The city needs to find out the whole truth about what led to the tragic death of a dedicated police officer and loving father, even if it takes an independent investigation.

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