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Protesters ask for answers in deadly police shooting in Queens

Activist Kirsten John Foy leading a rally Tuesday

Activist Kirsten John Foy leading a rally Tuesday protesting the deadly police shooting of Matthew Felix at Nassau Police headquarters in Mineola on Tuesday. He is flanked by Felix's mother Guerlyne Felix, left, an unidentified cousin, second from right, and the Rev. Arthur Mackey Jr. from Mount Sinai Baptist Church Cathedral in Roosevelt. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

About 30 protesters gathered in front of Nassau police headquarters in Mineola Tuesday demanding answers in the deadly police shooting of a carjacking suspect who was killed near his home last month in Queens.

The protesters chanted “no justice, no peace” and the name of Matthew Felix, the 19-year-old Queens man killed Feb. 25 after Nassau police tracked him to his Cambria Heights home. Once there, Felix got into a car and led police on a brief pursuit before he was fatally shot. Police have released few details in the shooting other than Felix was suspected in armed carjacking in Garden City earlier that day.

Activist Kirsten John Foy and others at the rally said they have a meeting Wednesday with Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick J. Ryder to discuss the shooting and what they said is the department's systemic mistreating of minorities.

“Immediately following our meeting with the commissioner, we will be announcing our next action and Nassau will feel it,” Foy said.

Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, a Nassau police spokesman, did not return multiple requests for comment Tuesday. Following the shooting, LeBrun had asked for patience while authorities investigated. 

State Attorney General Letitia James took over the shooting probe earlier this month, citing an executive order granting her office jurisdiction when police kill an unarmed civilian or there is a question whether the civilian was armed and dangerous.

Police have not said whether Felix was armed, although a law enforcement source told Newsday at the time that Felix appeared to be unarmed.

“The investigation is just the tip of the iceberg into what the community is demanding from the police department in terms of transparency and accountability," said Foy, who has been vocal in deaths of civilians at the hands of the NYPD including Eric Garner.

At the protest, the Rev. Arthur Mackey Jr., with the Mount Sinai Baptist Church Cathedral in Roosevelt, called for Ryder to take swift action against the officers involved. “These officers must be fired,” Mackey said. “I’ve known him [Ryder] to be a fair man, a good man, but if he doesn’t take care of this – he’s going to have to go.”

Felix’s relatives, including his mother, Guerlyne Felix, and his older sister, Samantha Felix, 22, both questioned whether Nassau police treat white suspects the same as black suspects.

“If Matthew had been a white boy, he would be alive today,” Guerlyne Felix said. “I don’t care what someone did or didn’t do. Matthew didn’t deserve to be executed.”

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