New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit released a comprehensive report on its investigation into the death of Warren Corbitt in Dutchess County in October 2016.
On October 14, 2016, State Police received a call from the Village of Millbrook Police Department that a person was wielding a knife at a high school football game. One of the troopers responding to the call collided with Warren Corbitt, a civilian motorcyclist; the collision took place along the double yellow line in the middle of the road as the trooper attempted to pass the motorcyclist. In light of all the evidence – including that the troopers had activated the lights and sirens on their vehicle, that a civilian motorist behind Mr. Corbitt pulled to the side of the road, and that Mr. Corbitt's vehicle pulled to the middle of the road rather than to the side – SIPU found that criminal charges against the responding officer were not warranted.
SIPU’s investigation took into account statements by the civilian witness and other troopers; an accident reconstruction report that showed the trooper’s vehicle decreasing speed, activating the brake, and steering to avoid Mr. Corbitt; and a separate ruling by a DMV Administrative Law Judge that found that the trooper committed no violations of the Vehicle and Traffic Law that caused or contributed to the accident.
“Mr. Corbitt’s death was a tragedy, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We undertook a comprehensive investigation into the incident, and remain committed to ensuring exhaustive and transparent accounting of all cases we investigate under the executive order.”
The report was produced as part of the Attorney General’s role as the state’s special prosecutor. In July 2015, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order No. 147, appointing the Attorney General to that role to oversee investigations into incidents where unarmed civilians die during interactions with police, or incidents where there is significant question as to whether the civilian was armed and dangerous. In cases in which it’s determined that charges are not warranted, the Attorney General’s office releases a comprehensive report that details the findings of its investigation, as part of its commitment to transparency.