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Hampden District Attorney ruling on police shooting of Tahiem Goffe

Hampden District Attorney ruling on police shooting of Tahiem Goffe

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Published by Greg Saulmon

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Published by: Greg Saulmon on May 25, 2012
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07/10/2013

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FINDINGSANDCONCLUSIONofHampdenDistrictAttorneyMarkG.MastroianniRegarding11/6/11PoliceShooting
ofTahiem
Goffe
HampdenCountyDistrictAttorney'sOfficeHallofJustice,50StateStreet,
3
rd
floor,Springfield,MA01103Contact:MarkG.Mastroianni,DistrictAttorneyPhone:413-747-1000Fax:413-781-4745Date:May25,2012
FORIMMEDIATE
RELEASE
HampdenDistrictAttorneyMarkG.MastroiannitodayisreleasinghisfindingsandconclusionsrelatedtothedeathofTahiemShakeeGoffe,ageeighteen(18),ofSpringfield.Mr.GoffediedasaresultofapoliceofficerrelatedshootingonNovember6,2011.DistrictAttorneyMastroianni'sfindingsrelatedtothisinvestigationaredetailedbelow.Baseduponareviewofthecompletedinvestigation,thecasewillbeclosedwithoutcriminalchargesbeingfiled.Theinvestigationrevealedthefollowing:IntheearlymorninghoursofNovember6,2011,atapproximately1:30a.m.,Springfieldpoliceofficers,PatrolmanMichaelBenoitandPatrolmanBrendanCurranweredispatchedtoaparkinglotlocatedatChestnutandTaylorStreetsintheCityofSpringfieldforareportofarecoveredstolenmotorvehicle.Thevehicle,ared2002PontiacGrandPrix,registeredinMassachusetts,hadbeenfoundbyRoy'sTowinganddesignatedforremovalfrom
 
theprivateproperty;itwasconfirmedstolenpriortotheofficers'arrivaL
It
hadbeenstolen,withthekeyshavingbeenleftinitsignition,fromoutsidetheRacingMartgasstationandconveniencestoreat32BostonRoadinthecity,earlierthepreviousevening,onNovember5,2011,atapproximately6:45p.m.Thevehicle'sownerhadlefthiscarrunningasheenteredtheconveniencestore.Momentslater,itwasreportedthatthree(3)tofour(4)individualsjumpedinsidethevehiclebeforeitlefttheareaheadeddownBerkshireAvenuetowardBayStreet.Upontheirarrivaltotheareawherethestolenmotorvehiclehadbeenrecovered,OfficersBenoitandCurranrequestedthevehiclebeleftinplaceandbegansurveillanceofitwithotherarrivingSpringfieldPoliceofficers,PatrolmanIvanRosasandPatrolmanScottRichard.Approximatelyonehourlater,OfficersRosasandRichardobservedthevehicleexittheparkinglotontoTaylorStreet,headingeastbound.TheofficersimmediatelycommunicatedthisfacttoOfficersBenoitandCurran,whoweretravellinginamarkedpatrolcar,eastonWorthingtonStreet.ThecruiserofBenoitandCurranthenturnednorthontoKibbeStreet,pullinginfrontofthetravellaneofthestolenmotorvehicle;itslightswereactivatedanditwaspositionedinfrontofthestolencar.OfficersRosasandRichard,whowerethenfollowingthestolenmotorvehicle,inamarkedpatrolcarwithitslightsactivated,boxeditinfrombehind,causingittostop.Anotheruninvolvedmotorvehicle(asmallsilvercar),intrafficinfrontofthestolenmotorvehicle,alsohadtostopbecauseofthepositioningofthepolicecars;itcametorestbetweenthecruiserinwhichOfficersBenoitandCurranweretravellingandthestolenmotorvehicle.OfficerRichardparkedhiscruiserandbegantoexitit.Ashedidso,thedriverofthestolenmotorvehicle,lateridentifiedasTahiemGoffe,agedeighteen,ofSpringfield,putthestolenmotorvehicleintoreverseandstruckOfficerRichard'scruiser,causingdamagetoitsfrontbumper.OneofthejuvenilepassengersinthestolenmotorvehicledescribedGoffeas
Statement
of
DistrictAttorneyMastroianniPage2
 
having"hitthegas"whentravellinginreversetostrikethepolicecruiser.Asthestolenmotorvehicleacceleratedinreverse,theuninvolvedvehicle(smallsilvercar)quicklyleftthescene,headingeastupTaylorStreet.Thisimmediatelycreatedmorespaceforthestolenmotorvehicletomaneuverforward.Noofficerwasabletoidentifyanyoftheoccupantsofthissmallsilvercaroranyotheridentifyinginformationaboutthecarpriortoitsleavingthescene.OfficersBenoitandCurranhadexitedtheirmarkedpatrolcartoapproachthefrontofthestolenmotorvehicleasOfficersRichardandRosasapproacheditfrombehind.Allofficersgaveverbalcommandstothedriverofthestolenmotorvehicletostop.Atthetime,allofficerswerewearingdepartmentissueduniformswithdepartmentpatchesandbadgesclearlydisplayed.Alloccupantsofthestolenmotorvehicleclearlyknewtheywerebeingpursuedbypoliceandbeingorderedtostop,accordingtothestatementsofthevehicle'stwoteenagedpassengers.OfficerBenoitwasapproachingthefrontofthestolenmotorvehicle,asitquicklyreversedandthendroveforward,strikingOfficerBenoit.Onepassenger,ajuvenile,describedthedriver,Goffe,as"tryingtopeelaway".Anotherpassenger,alsoajuvenile,statedthatGoffe"droveatthecopandhithimwiththecar,"subsequentlydescribingtheincidentasGoffe"playingchicken"withtheofficer.EachjuvenilehasdescribedcircumstanceswhichputOfficerBenoitinaperiloussituation;inthepathofanoncomingcarthroughtheintentionalactionsofitsdriver,Goffe.TheoperationofthestolenmotorvehicledirectedatOfficerBenoithadenoughspeedtocausethe"peelaway"descriptionbyonewitnessinthecar.OneofthejuvenilestoldGoffeasheoperatedthestolenmotorvehicle(aspolicewereattemptingtostoporboxthevehiclein)toslowdownbecausehe"wasscared[Goffe]wasgoingsofast"andthathe"didn'twanttodieinthecar".Baseduponthesereportedobservations,IhaveconcludedthatGoffe'soperationofStatementofDistrictAttorneyMastroianniPage3

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