© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'Please don't shoot': Girlfriend of man fatally shot by Pittsfield police alleges race was a factor

 A Pittsfield, Mass., police cruiser.
Conor Berry
The Republican / MassLive.com
A Pittsfield, Mass., police cruiser.

The partner of a Pittsfield man who was shot by police on Friday said race was a factor in the shooting. The man was in a mental health crisis when police were called.

Daneya Falwell said the first time police arrived Friday night, Miguel Estrella had been cutting his face. According to Falwell, police said they were supposed to take him into custody, but instead left him in her care. Falwell is 19 years old.

She said she called police again that night when Estrella tried to stab himself in the stomach. When the police returned, she said her boyfriend had a knife in his hand. Falwell said the police tried to use Tasers, to no effect. Then, she said they pulled out guns.

“Then I’m like, ‘Please don’t shoot. Please don’t shoot. Please don’t shoot. If you’re going to shoot, shoot below.’" recalled Falwell. "Because he wasn’t doing nothing to them. He was only trying to hurt himself."

After the shooting, according to the Berkshire District Attorney's office, the officers attempted "lifesaving aid." He was transported to the Berkshire Medical Center where he died.

Falwell said if Estrella, who was Dominican, had been white, she believes police would have given him more time to calm down.

A statement released Saturday by the Pittsfield Police said Estrella had the knife and "advanced on the officers." The police have not responded to requests for further comment. The DA is investigating the shooting along with State Police.

A wake for Estrella is planned for Friday afternoon.

Copyright 2022 New England Public Media. To see more, visit New England Public Media.

Nancy Eve Cohen is a senior reporter focusing on Berkshire County. Previously she served as the editor of the Northeast Environmental Hub, a collaborative of public radio stations. Earlier in her career she was the Midwest editor for NPR in Washington, D.C. Before working in radio, she recorded sound as part of a camera crew for network television news, with assignments in Russia, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba and in Sarajevo during the war in 1992.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.