GENEVA — The city police officer who fatally shot William “Cory” Jackson more than two years ago is no longer with the department.
Geneva Police Chief Jeff Trickler said Sgt. Carmen “Scott” Reale retired Jan. 24 after 18 years with the Geneva PD. He was placed on paid administrative leave by then-Chief Frank Pane after the May 2011 shooting.
The leave was in effect during an investigation of the shooting by the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department, and continued after a county grand jury cleared Reale of wrongdoing.
Citing personnel and privacy issues involving police officers, Trickler said he was limited to what he could say about Reale’s status with the department over the last two-plus years. Trickler did confirm that until his retirement, Reale didn’t return to the Geneva PD after the shooting.
Last year, the Times filed a Freedom of Information Law request to review Reale’s payroll records. Those records showed he was being paid a full salary while on leave — about $75,000 per year.
Jackson was shot about 10:30 p.m. on May 20, 2011, and died three days later at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. Jackson, who lived on Clinton Street in Geneva, was riding in the back seat of a car that was stopped by police.
According to police, Jackson was being sought in the investigation of a reported robbery. He was accused of robbing a woman at knifepoint about 3 a.m. May 20 in the city.
At the time of the shooting, Pane said the driver and a front-seat passenger exited the car after police ordered them out, but Jackson did not despite being told to several times. As police approached the vehicle to take Jackson into custody, Reale saw Jackson repeatedly reach under the seat.
Pane said Reale saw Jackson turn toward another officer with what appeared to be a weapon. Reale shot through the rear window, hitting Jackson in the head.
Police said a knife and two cell phones were found near where Jackson sat in the car.
The shooting ignited an outcry among some city residents, including the Geneva chapter of the NAACP. Several months later, a number of city officials signed The Community Compact, a document developed by the U.S. Department of Justice in the shooting’s aftermath; the Compact called for the city to measure and assess its racial and ethnic climate.
Trickler said the police department also took a long look at the incident.
“Anytime we have a serious incident ... even if it’s not a shooting ... the department gets together and reviews what happened to see if anything differently could be done,” he said.
Without getting into specifics, Trickler said in officer-involved shootings — in Geneva and other police departments — officials review the circumstances and determine when and if the officer returns to work. He added in some cases, officers don’t return to active duty or any duty at all.
Reale has declined several requests from the Times to talk about the incident.
“I think in any situation like this, it affects everyone. Not only did it affect the community, it affected Scott,” Trickler said. “I don’t think any law enforcement officer wants to be involved in an incident where they take a life.”