Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit

On July 8, 2015, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 147, which appointed the New York State Attorney General as special prosecutor in incidents where a law enforcement officer causes the death of an unarmed civilian, or where there is a significant question as to whether the civilian was armed and dangerous. The following day, the office announced the creation of the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit (SIPU), to investigate and, if warranted, prosecute all cases that fall within the scope of Executive Order 147.

SIPU is staffed with experienced prosecutors, investigators, and a community liaison. While SIPU’s principal objective is to investigate the incidents covered by EO 147 without fear or favor in order to determine whether a prosecution is warranted, SIPU also seeks to enhance transparency and strengthen public trust in the criminal justice system in these sensitive incidents.

To date, SIPU has launched investigations of 17 incidents across New York State, as well as one investigation of a District Attorney. Of these investigations, SIPU has charged one police officer, charged one DA, is investigating seven incidents, and has closed nine investigations (Last updated: 5/24/2018). In each case where SIPU has closed an investigation without bringing charges, SIPU has issued a public report detailing the evidence collected (to the extent allowed under state law), relevant expert reports, and SIPU’s legal analysis.

SIPU’s reports also typically include policy recommendations aimed at improving law enforcement practices. To date, these reports have made a number of important recommendations, including expanding police officer body camera programs and expanding the implementation of off-hour video arraignments. A bill permitting courts to open off-hours arraignments passed the New York legislature in 2016.

In August 2017, SIPU issued its first ever biennial report, which is available here: Biennial Report of the Office of the Attorney General's Special Investigations & Prosecutions Unit . This report provides an overview of incidents assessed by SIPU under Executive Order 147, new statistical data and other information concerning SIPU’s work.

The leadership of the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit includes Executive Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg, Chief of the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit Wanda Perez-Maldonado, Chief Investigator Dominick Zarella, OAG Director of Advocacy Natalia Salgado, Deputy Chief Paul A. Clyne, Deputy Chief Joshua Gradinger, Deputy Chief Diane M. LaVallee, Deputy Chief Jose Nieves, Deputy Chief Jennifer Sommers, Deputy Chief Nicholas Viorst, Counsel Gail Heatherly, Assistant Chief Investigator John Sullivan, Investigator David Giudici, Investigator Bryan Mason, and Legal Support Analyst Zulkifl (Muhammad) Zargar.

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Details and recommendations relating to each case are available in the reports linked below.

News and Reports:

Attorney General's Special Investigations And Prosecutions Unit Releases Report On The Death Of Jose Hernandez Rossy

AG's Special Investigations And Prosecutions Unit Releases Report On The Death Of Edson Thevenin

Attorney General's Special Investigations And Prosecutions Unit Releases Report On The Death Of Wardel Davis

A.G. Schneiderman Statement On Wayne Isaacs Verdict

Attorney General’s Special Investigations And Prosecutions Unit Releases Report on the Death of Ariel Galarza

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Release Of First Ever Biennial Report Of NY AG Office's Special Investigations And Prosecutions Unit

Attorney General's Special Investigations And Prosecutions Unit Releases Report On The Death Of Warren Corbitt

Attorney General's Special Investigations And Prosecutions Unit Releases Report On The Investigation into the Death of Richard Gonzalez

Attorney General’s Special Investigations And Prosecutions Unit Releases Detailed Report And Findings Of Extensive Investigation Into Death Of Miguel Espinal In Yonkers

A.G. Schneiderman’s Special Investigations And Prosecutions Unit Announces Detailed Report And Findings Of Investigation Into Death Of Joseph Seguin In Carmel

A.G. Schneiderman’s Special Investigations And Prosecutions Unit Releases Detailed Report On Investigation Into The Death Of Raynette Turner