Attorney General releases body-cam footage in probe of MTA police shooting in Jamaica

MTA police tried to cuff McDaniel who allegedly fired a shot during a struggle and the two officers returned fire striking him in the head.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday released police body-worn camera footage that her office obtained as part of the ongoing investigation into the shooting death of 52-year-old Bashe McDaniel, who died on Dec. 29, 2023, following an encounter with members of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, (MTA) Police in Jamaica. The probe by her Office of Special Investigation is mandated under state law.

On the night of Dec. 29, two MTA officers were searching for an individual on Sutphin Boulevard following a report of an alleged sexual assault at the Jamaica LIRR/AirTrain station a block away. The officers spotted McDaniel, who appeared to be wearing the same clothing that was described in the report. As the officers were attempting to handcuff McDaniel, they could be heard ordering him to give them his hands. When he failed to comply, one of the officers used a Taser several times. As McDaniel shrieked and continued to struggle, he allegedly fired a semi-automatic firearm, according to the AG’s office. The two officers discharged their service weapons multiple times in response, striking McDaniel once in the head.

EMS rushed him to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a short while later. Officers recovered a MAC-10 submachine gun with a 30-round extended magazine at the scene.

MTA police recovered a semi-automatic weapon at the crime scene. Photo courtesy of the NYPD

OSI released the videos from body-worn cameras that the MTA officers were equipped with during the incident. The release of the videos follows the Attorney General’s directive that camera footage obtained by her office in the course of an OSI probe be released to the public to increase transparency and strengthen public trust in such matters.

The OSI probe was launched just days after the fatal shooting of McDaniel. Under New York State Executive Law Section 70-b, OSI assesses every incident reported to it where a police officer or a peace officer, including a correction officer, may have caused the death of a person by an act or omission. Under the law, the officer may be on-duty or off-duty, and the decedent may be armed or unarmed. Additionally, the decedent may or may not be in custody or incarcerated. If OSI’s assessment indicates an officer may have caused the death, OSI proceeds to conduct a full investigation of the incident.

The release of the 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, according to the AG’s Office.