Following a thorough and complete review of the evidence in the investigation into the death of Herve Gilles, the Grand Jury, which began hearing testimony on April 18, 2012, has concluded its investigation. Although Grand Jury proceedings by law are secret, the investigation into the death of Herve Gilles, conducted and developed outside the Grand Jury process, is not bound by any such rule of secrecy. The following is a synopsis of the evidence uncovered by the investigation:
On December 14, 2011 at approximately 3:22 a.m., Herve Gilles (DOB 04/09/63) was fatally shot by Police Officer John Roper (hereinafter, “P.O. Roper”) of the Village of Spring Valley Police Department in the parking lot located on the corner of E. Furman Place and Franklin Street, Spring Valley, New York. At the time, P.O. Roper was responding to a call of Herve Gilles throwing rocks near El Buen Gusto Bar and Restaurant located at 11 E. Furman Place, Spring Valley. Mr. Gilles attacked and assaulted P.O. Roper after taking P.O. Roper’s nightstick and striking P.O. Roper with the nightstick with such force that P.O. Roper was in extreme pain and caused momentary numbness and impairment of P.O. Roper’s arm. P.O. Roper knew that if Mr. Gilles’ blow struck him in the head, it would have been sufficiently powerful to kill him or in the very least to render him unconscious and defenseless. P.O. Roper was in fear for his life. As Mr. Gilles raised the nightstick again to strike P.O. Roper, P.O. Roper drew his service weapon and fired a shot, which struck Mr. Gilles in the neck, in an attempt to stop Mr. Gilles from continuing his assault, to no avail. Mr. Gilles continued to strike at P.O. Roper with the nightstick. P.O. Roper fired again, striking Mr. Gilles in the head, fatally wounding him. Mr. Gilles was pronounced dead at 3:42 a.m.
After due deliberation on the evidence presented in this matter, the Grand Jury found no reasonable cause to vote an indictment; the panel found that P.O. Roper was justified in using deadly physical force against Mr. Gilles.
A detailed report of the results of the independent investigation - as well as the legal principles relevant to this case - can be found at RocklandCountyDA.com.
I wish to thank the 23 citizens of Rockland County who comprised the Grand Jury for their service, for the time and effort they devoted to this investigation and for the careful manner in which they discharged their solemnduty. Each member met this challenge with dedication, skill and respect, while keeping foremost in their minds, their responsibility to the oaths they had taken.