Cousins of Dontay Ivy take time to cope with death

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The family of Dontay Ivy says they are overwhelmed right now and want time to absorb the loss they say is devastating and shocking. They want to wait for more details from police about what exactly happened.

“I’m not going to be able to see Dontay anymore and that’s a lot to swallow,” said Derek Johnson, cousin of Dontay Ivy.

Derek Johnson is trying to cope with the loss of his cousin, 39-year-old Dontay Ivy. Albany Police say he died while suffering from a medical emergency following a physical confrontation with officers which included him being tased. The family is asking the community for respect, as dozens gathered to rally for justice for Ivy.

“Quite naturally, you know it’s going to be people that will want to yell and scream and you know we’re not telling them that they’re wrong. We’re just asking them to slow it down you know give us a chance. It’s been a drastic change in our lives,” said Johnson.

The family has many questions, like why was Ivy approached in the first place. They say they are waiting for the results of an internal investigation and decided not to attend the rally that asked for the Albany Police Department to disarm themselves.

“We just want to do it the right way and you know we want to do it without breaking up our city,” Johnson said.

Family members have said that Ivy suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and also say he isn’t an aggressive person.

“If they would have taken the moment to talk to him and speak to him, the condition… the mental illness, was very apparent,” said Celestal Hightower, cousin of Dontay Ivy.

Retired Troy Police Captain, John Cooney says money was allocated in this year’s budget to train officers in a class called mental health first aid. He believes it could help in specific situations.

“Knowing that mental health issues could be involved it may just necessitate or encourage a different response. Maybe de-escalation, maybe more positive listening skills,” Cooney said.

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