Video of New Jersey police shooting fuels debate on use of force

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Campaigners call for state investigation into fatal New Jersey police shooting.

Police in New Jersey have released a video showing two police officers shooting a black man dead after he tried to get out of his car with his hands up.National police reform advocates have called for a state investigation into the fatal police shooting of Jerame Reid, a 36 year-old black man who was confronted by two officers – one white and one black – during an initially routine traffic stop. “Local officials should not handle incidents such as this,” the Rev Al Sharpton said in a statement on Thursday, echoing similar calls from local leaders to give the investigation to the state attorney general. Screaming over and over “Don’t you fucking move!” and “Show me your hands!” at the man in the passenger seat, the officer reached into the car and appeared to remove a silver handgun.

The driver, who had been traveling with a passenger – also sitting up front – had been told that he had been pulled over because he had failed to halt at a stop sign. I ain’t got no reason to reach for nothing.” The passenger, despite being warned repeatedly not to move, stepped out of the car, his hands raised about shoulder level. Less than two minutes later, the video shows officers shooting and killing Reid, after Bridgeton officer Braheme Days says he sees a handgun in the glove compartment. “I’m gonna shoot you!” and “You’re gonna be fucking dead!” Days is shown saying repeatedly, as Reid tells the officer he is not “reaching” for the gun.

The nearly two-minute deadly standoff came after the killings of black men in New York and Ferguson, Missouri, triggered months of turbulent protests and calls for a re-examination of police use of deadly force. Local reports state that Days had arrested Reid in the summer of 2014. “It’s been very, very tense since the video,” said Walter Hudson Sr, the leader of the National Awareness Alliance, a group organizing the community of Bridgeton following the incident. “The video itself is alarming.” Little information has been released by the city or prosecutor’s office, even as the town has come under increasing scrutiny following the video’s release. “Because a grand jury presentation must be considered, the [Cumberland County] prosecutor’s office must be circumscribed in its release of information,” said first assistant prosecutor Harold B Shapiro, who is investigating the case.

A call to the Bridgeton mayor’s office was not returned, and the city administrator asked all requests for information be made through state open records laws. Days knew who he was; he was one of the arresting officers last year when Reid was charged with several crimes, including drug possession and obstruction. In Bridgeton, where two thirds of the residents are black or Hispanic, the killing has stirred protests, including a demonstration on Wednesday, shortly after the video was made public at the request of two newspapers under the state’s open records law. To this point, the prosecutor’s office has led the investigation, but has released all public information through the city of Bridgeton. “They’re scared, they’re scared,” said Hudson, who is based in Penns Grove, New Jersey. “For one, they want change.

Only about 61% of the people who live in the city have graduated high school, about 27% below New Jersey’s average, and residents earn about $13,000 each on average, $22,700 less than the average New Jersey resident. However, the Ramirez family said they intended to file a lawsuit accusing Morrison and the Billings Police Department of racial profiling against the half-Mexican man, the Associated Press reported. The video, uploaded to YouTube on the date of the incident, seems to show paramedics briefly attempting to resuscitate Reid as another man is led away from scene in handcuffs.

The case simmered for three weeks until the release of the dashboard camera video, which happened only after a formal request by the South Jersey Times.

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