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New York trooper found not guilty in fatal shooting of motorist following high-speed chase

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A New York state trooper who was charged with manslaughter after shooting an unarmed motorist to death following a high-speed chase was acquitted on Wednesday.

Trooper Anthony Nigro testified during his nonjury trial this week that he feared for his life when he fired two shots at James Huber, 38, of North East, Pennsylvania, as the chase came to an end on a downtown Buffalo street. After Nigro blocked Huber's car with his cruiser, Huber refused to get out of his car and then began accelerating backward when Nigro reached in through a window to try to pull him out, Nigro said.

“I felt like I was going to get sucked underneath the vehicle, this man was going to kill me,” Nigro, 40, testified.

The Feb. 23, 2022, shooting followed a 45-minute pursuit that began on the New York State Thruway in Brant and reached speeds exceeding 100 mph (161 kph), authorities said.

Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, brought the charges against Nigro following a review by her office, which has the authority to investigate the lethal use of force by law enforcement. Prosecutors accused Nigro of acting out of anger, not fear.

Judge James Bargnesi found Nigro not guilty. Nigro's attorney said afterward that the case never should have been brought.

“He did what we expect heroic troopers to do: He put himself in harm's way to solve a dangerous threat,” John D’Alessandro told reporters.

Huber's sister left the courtroom without commenting.