Community demands action following police-involved shooting of 19-year-old

Emma Jones
Family and community members mourned the death of 19-year-old Matthew Felix, who was fatally shot by a police officer or officers last month. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

At a demonstration last Tuesday in front of Nassau County police headquarters in Mineola, protesters demanded justice following the fatal police shooting of 19-year-old Matthew Felix last month.

The protesters, who included activist Kirsten John Foy, chanted, “No justice, no peace.” Some called on the Nassau County Police Department to fire all officers involved in the shooting.

The shooting occurred on Tuesday, Feb. 25, around 5 p.m. in the Cambria Heights neighborhood of Queens. Nassau County police officers followed Felix, a carjacking suspect, from Garden City Park to Queens.

Police tracked Felix to his home in Queens and waited until the suspect left the house and got into another car. According to Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, officers attempted to make an arrest as Felix left his house, but he drove away, and officers followed him.

Unmarked police vehicles had surrounded the car in a busy shopping district when it sped forward and collided with a storefront. A witness said the officers discharged their weapons when the suspect appeared to begin driving toward the police.

Foy said that a meeting between Ryder and activists, himself included, was scheduled to take place last Wednesday. Attempts to confirm that the meeting took place with the NCPD were unavailing.

“My son was loved by a lot of people and he was taken from me by racist Nassau PD cops who can go around shooting people with immunity,” Guerlyne Felix, the victim’s mother, said last Tuesday. “This must end now.”

“There were eight shots,” said Samantha Felix, the victim’s sister. “Eight shots for someone unarmed. For what?”

State Attorney General Letitia James has taken over the investigation. The attorney general’s office has the jurisdiction to assume authority over a case in an instance where police shoot a civilian or there is a question as to whether the civilian had a gun.

Family, community members and activists gathered on Wednesday to commemorate what would have been Felix’s 20th birthday.

“Today my son would’ve been 20,” Guerlyne Felix said. “Instead of him [being] out there celebrating, he’s in the morgue. And that’s not right. My son did not deserve to die this way.”

The Police Department has not offered a public explanation why an officer or officers fatally shot Felix.

“There was no reason for them to kill him,” said Guerlyne Felix. “Had my son been a white boy, he would be alive today.”

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