Read a PDF of our statement here.

On Wednesday, New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers tased and fatally shot Win Rozario, who had called 911 seeking help and then reportedly brandished scissors at responding officers while in mental distress. 

In response to this incident, Legal Defense Fund (LDF) Manager of the Justice in Public Safety Project Puneet Cheema issued the following response: 

“We are devastated by the tragic and preventable death of Win Rozario. He called emergency services for help during a crisis, and his call should have been met by unarmed, trained mental health emergency responders. Instead, he was met by police, who tased and shot him in front of his family. A wide array of alternative responders, including peer workers, have now proven to be effective in reducing police violence in response to calls like Mr. Rozario’s in cities across the country. We cannot let tragedies like this continue.  

“There is no excuse for New York City to delay implementing more effective and proven public safety strategies such as alternative responders that would prevent police killings for calls like Mr. Rozario’s. Win Rozario’s tragic killing demonstrates the urgent need for the city to reshape its mental health emergency response so that calls such as this are handled with the care and support of health and other professionals, rather than by police officers.”  


Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.