Call for Investigation Into Mass. Teen's Death by Police Officers

(NECN: John Moroney, New Bedford, Mass.) - Last year's fatal police shooting of a New Bedford, Mass. teen was already deemed justified, but, on Monday, the ACLU and ACP called on the attorney general to investigate further.

Fifteen-year-old Malcolm Gracia was shot and killed by police officers last spring in New Bedford. Civil rights groups are now asking the attorney general to review the case after the Bristol County District found the use of deadly force was justified.

"New Bedford and all of Massachusetts needs to have a clearer understanding of the circumstances and what is appropriate and what is in appropriate and unconstitutional activity on the part of police," said Juan Cofield of the NAACP.

A letter was sent to Attorney General Martha Coakley. It says DA Sam Sutter's review leaves unanswered questions about the death of Gracia, who was shot in May after stabbing a police officer at the Temple Landing housing complex. The civil rights groups say they are not questioning the initial shots fired at Gracia, but rather a second round that was fired as he tried to get up off the ground.

“We're not saying that this was that this was an unjustified shooting. What we are saying is we don't know enough from the district attorney's report," said John Reinstein of the ACLU.

Along the use of deadly force, the AG is being asked to review the firearms training for officers, as well as New Bedford's community policing program. Civil rights leaders say the city's so-called "meet and greet" program unfairly targets minority youngsters and may have contributed to the deadly confrontation with Gracia.

The attorney general's office says it has received the letter from the civil rights groups and is reviewing it.

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