While there is still a lot we don’t know about the death of Tyler Green in Oneonta last week, there is one thing of which we are certain: It is a tragedy for all involved.
The police were called to Green’s house on River Street after the report of a domestic dispute involving Green and his girlfriend, with their child present.
As Oneonta police arrived, Green threatened to kill his girlfriend, as could be heard on a neighbor’s security camera footage.
Green fell to the ground while backing away from police, reached out, tripped up his girlfriend and apparently cut or stabbed her at that time.
Oneonta Patrol Sgt. Ralph Pajerski told Green multiple times to drop the knife, while drawing his gun on Green, who at that point was lying face down on the ground, still yelling threats. Then Green reached out for his son, who was on the ground within feet of him, and pulled him toward him.
That is when Pajerski shot, hitting Green in the back twice.
The time between when police approached Green and his girlfriend until the shots rang out was less than 20 seconds.
Green eventually died on a medivac helicopter enroute to Albany Medical Center.
Reaction by the community was swift. Some immediately questioned the use of force by Pajerski. Others said the police officer acted 100% appropriately.
That is something an investigation by the Attorney General’s office will flesh out.
In the meantime, it seems that too many people are forgetting the toll this has on all involved.
A man is dead. His family is grieving the loss of a son, a father, a friend, a loved one.
Another man must now live with the fact that a gun he fired resulted in another man’s death.
There are no winners. No one wanted it to end this way.
We hope the community can come together and offer support for all of those involved.
Give time for the family to grieve. Let the Oneonta Police Department digest what happened.
Once the AG’s report comes out, a real discussion of police policies in relation to this incident can take place.
That will be time to dissect what went right and what went wrong.
That will be the time to determine if de-escalation could have taken place.
That will be the time to determine if a different type of force could have been used.
That will be the time to determine in policy changes through the police reform reports could have worked.
That will be the time to determine if police followed their training.
It is important to give a critical eye to police actions, but we can’t do that until the facts are gathered and analyzed.
It is not good for the community to split into #backtheblue and #defundthepolice. It does no one any good to place blame fully on the police or on Green.
As with most things, we are sure the truth is somewhere in the middle.
There will also be things we as a community and the police can learn, so we don’t have to go through a tragedy like this again.