Attorney General James’ Office of Special Investigation Releases Report on Death of Daniel Kachinoski
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Office of Special Investigation (OSI) today released its report on the death of Daniel Kachinoski, who died on November 19, 2022 in the Town of Niagara. Following a thorough investigation, which included review of body-worn camera footage, 911 calls, police radio transmissions, and evidence from the scene, OSI concluded that a prosecutor would not be able to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial that the officer who shot Mr. Kachinoski was justified.
On the evening of November 19, 2022, two Town of Niagara Police Department (TNPD) officers responded to 911 calls placed by Mr. Kachinoski and his mother reporting a domestic matter at their residence. Upon arrival, one officer spoke with Mr. Kachinoski’s mother in the kitchen, while the second officer spoke with Mr. Kachinoski in an adjacent room.
During the conversation, Mr. Kachinoski began acting erratically and threatened the officers, telling them to leave. In response, the officers directed Mr. Kachinoski to put his hands behind his back, but he refused to comply. In the ensuing encounter, an officer attempted to subdue Mr. Kachinoski with a taser to no effect. Mr. Kachinoski then picked up a wooden chair, which prompted the second officer to deploy his taser, which also did not serve to deter Mr. Kachinoski.
As the officers repeatedly ordered Mr. Kachinoski to put the chair down, he continued to ignore their requests and instead picked up a knife with his free hand. Mr. Kachinoski then advanced towards an officer with the chair in one hand and the knife raised in the other until he was within arm’s length of the officer. The officer then fired his service weapon at Mr. Kachinoski in response. When EMS arrived, Mr. Kachinoski was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers recovered a knife at the scene.
Under New York’s justification law, a person may use deadly physical force to defend against the imminent use of deadly physical force by another person. When the defense of justification is raised at trial, the prosecution must disprove justification beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, the officers repeatedly attempted to deescalate the situation, but Mr. Kachinoski ignored their requests and instead advanced towards an officer with a knife raised. Under these circumstances, based on the law and the evidence, a prosecutor would not be able to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer who fired was justified, and OSI determined that criminal charges could not be pursued against the officer.