Investigators in New Brunswick have not released many details about the officer-involved shooting that killed Barry Deloatch, but his family members say he would have never carried a weapon and did nothing wrong. Pat Battle reports.
A grand jury in New Jersey has declined to filed charges against the police officer who allegedly shot and killed a 47-year-old unarmed resident in a New Brunswick alley last September.
"While the shooting is a tragedy on many levels, it is clear that the grand jury conducted a thorough, impartial and independent review," said prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan.
Barry Deloatch was killed early on Sept. 22 in an alley off Throop Avenue and Handy Street.
According to prosecutors, officers Brad Berdel and Daniel Mazan were on routine patrol and stopped to question Deloatch and two other men, when Deloatch fled. Berdel followed him into an alley, where a struggle ensued and the officer fired a single fatal shot, the prosecutor's office said.
The bullet struck Deloatch in the left side of his body, piercing his aorta.
New Brunswick police had been silent on the incident, which has attracted the attention of the NAACP and other prominent organizations. Deloatch is black, while Berdel and Mazan are white.
Deloatch did not have a gun when he was shot. New Brunswick police said Deloatch was armed with a stick and hitting officers. A 2-by-4 piece of wood was found at the scene of the shooting, close to Deloatch.
The 11-week grand jury proceedings are being kept confidential, but the prosecutor's office said the 23 jurors heard 57 witnesses and reviewed 280 exhibits. They were to deliberate on whether the use of deadly force was justified, and they subsequently declined to return an indictment against Berdel.
‘’Although some may disagree with the grand jury’s finding, the review and decision by the panel of ordinary citizens will withstand the scrutiny of any potential review by any state or federal agency," Kaplan said.
Kaplan said he will refer the case to the New Brunswick Police Department for an administrative review.
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