BUFFALO, NY (AP) — A New York State Trooper was charged with manslaughter on Monday for fatally shooting a Pennsylvania man after a high-speed car chase last year.
Trooper Anthony Nigro was arraigned in state court in Buffalo for the February 12, 2022 shooting of 38-year-old James Huber of North East, Pennsylvania.
Nigro, a nearly 16-year state police veteran, pleaded not guilty to first and second degree manslaughter and was released without bond.
Troopers first spotted Huber speeding on Interstate 90 near Buffalo and chased him at speeds exceeding 100 mph (161 kph), police said.
The fatal encounter happened after Huber finally stopped in Buffalo.
Body camera footage released by the state attorney general’s office shows Nigro holding his gun in front of him as he approaches the car and orders Huber, with an expletive, to get out. Huber, sitting in the driver’s seat, turns away from the officer and says, “Go away.”
Huber appears to reach his right for something in the car, and Nigro grabs the hood of Huber’s sweatshirt. The soldier fires two shots and falls to the ground as the car backs up, briefly dragging Nigro. It is unclear what Huber may have achieved.
The car reversed out of camera range, crashed and landed on its side on a parking ramp.
Body camera footage shows Nigro running towards the car. He radios: “The driver has been hit. I’m doing well.”
Huber, who was unarmed, died of gunshot wounds at the scene. His death was investigated by Attorney General Letitia James, whose office brought the charges against Nigro.
Charles Murphy, president of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, said that “although the outcome was tragic, Trooper Nigro’s actions were consistent with his training and the law.”
Murphy said in a statement that Huber’s “dangerous” actions “threatened the safety of innocent motorists on the Thruway and in the city of Buffalo, which vindicated the actions of Trooper Nigro.”
The New York City Attorney’s Office is responsible for investigating all deaths caused by police officers, but criminal charges against a police officer are rare.
State police said in a statement that the department has been cooperating with the attorney general’s investigation and will continue to do so.
Cary Arnold, a Pennsylvania woman who has a daughter with Huber, told the Buffalo News Huber may be heading to a rally to support Canadian truckers protesting COVID-19 vaccination mandates at the time of the shooting.