What to Know
- A Newark police officer who fatally shot a man and wounded another during a vehicle pursuit last month has been suspended
- Authorities are investigating whether the shooting, which took place Jan. 28, was justified
- During the stop, authorities say, an officer saw a weapon inside; The driver then allegedly drove away and the officer gave chase
A Newark police officer who fatally shot a man and wounded another during a vehicle pursuit last month has been suspended while authorities investigate whether the shooting was justified.
City Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said Tuesday that officials have "concerns about this shooting," but didn't provide further details. He also did not identify the suspended officer, who has been on the force for 18 months.
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office is handling the investigation and said that the police-involved shooting will be presented to a Grand Jury in accordance to the state's attorney general directives.
“The investigation is active and ongoing, but the evidence gathered, so far, raises serious questions about the officer’s conduct. Consequently, this matter will be presented to a Grand Jury for possible criminal charges,’’ said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Stephens.
Authorities say the incident occurred around 11:30 p.m. Jan. 28 when an officer attempted to stop a motor vehicle for erratic driving around the Pennsylvania Avenue and Thomas Street area. During the stop, authorities say, an officer saw a weapon inside. The driver then drove away and the officer gave chase.
A pursuit allegedly ensued involving multiple police cars, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said. It is alleged that an officer that joined the pursuit fired multiple gunshots, hitting both the driver and the passenger of the vehicle in the head. The driver ultimately died, while the passenger survived.
Prosecutors say that the attorney general directive requires disclosure of body worn video within 20 days or upon the substantial completion of the investigation, which is currently underway.
"Although transparency is of the utmost importance in this kind of investigation, our office cannot release the footage at this time without compromising the integrity of the ongoing investigation," the prosecutor's office says.