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Attorney General Office investigating death of Syracuse man following encounter with SPD


The New York Attorney General's Office of Special Investigation (OSI) is investigating the death of a Syracuse man following an encounter with the Syracuse Police Department.

Syracuse Police responded to a 911 call for an individual acting erratically at the residence of 611 Teall Avenue shortly after 4 a.m. on May 31, 2023. The Attorney General's office said the officers found Alex Rivera, 23, there who appeared unable to walk or stand.

Lt. Matthew Malinowski, a spokesperson for the Syracuse Police Department, said Rivera appeared to have overdosed from an unknown substance. He said officers secured Rivera and AMR Ambulance EMT and Paramedic team responded to the scene to provide care. The Attorney General's office said Rivera was sedated by paramedics before being put into the ambulance. Rivera was brought to Upstate Hospital for treatment and pronounced dead.

Malinowski said they initiated a death investigation and notified the Attorney General's office per department protocol and state law.

"Pursuant to 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 corrections officer, may have caused the death of a person, by an act or omission," the Attorney General Office said.

A full investigation of the incident is done if the OSI assessment indicates an officer caused the death. A full investigation does not imply there was any wrongdoing by the Syracuse Police. The investigation will determine if there was wrongdoing and if officers face criminal prosecution.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.