One year after deadly officer-involved shooting, family’s attorney announces suit against Buffalo Police


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — One year ago Thursday, Rafael “Pito” Rivera was fatally shot by a police officer in the parking lot of PUSH Buffalo on Plymouth Avenue. He was 32.

His family’s attorney announced on Sept. 12 that they have filed suit in connection with his death.

Following a three-month investigation, prosecutors announced they would not file charges against Officer Elnur Karadshaev.

Karadshaev, the City, the Police Department, and an unnamed officer are listed as defendants. Rivera’s mother Denice is listed as plaintiff.

According to the DA’s report, Rivera tested positive for cocaine, marijuana and what Flynn says was an “excessive amount” of alcohol. Rivera also had a fully-loaded gun when he was shot, District Attorney John Flynn said at the time. The district attorney also said Rivera was apparently a drug dealer who had gone to Buffalo’s west side in search of money.

The Rivera family lawsuit alleges that Rivera was confronted by officers at 3:14 a.m., then tripped and fell when he tried to run away. The suit states that Karadshaev fired six times, hitting Rivera three times in the back and side.

The wrongful death suit alleges that Rivera’s ethnicity was a factor in the shooting. The Rivera family is Puerto Rican.

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