Police Abuse

Grand Jury Clears Five Newark Cops in Shooting of Robbery Suspects

Cops said they heard gunfire, and one cop said he saw a gun, but police only recovered a BB gun the victims hid elsewhere before the police interaction.



A grand jury in New Jersey cleared five police officers who shot at a vehicle they said was trying to run them over and two 18-year-olds an off-duty cop began to follow earlier in the morning as robbery suspects, NJ.com reports.

The cops told county prosecutors they believed they heard a gunshot, and one cop said he thought he saw someone in the front seat point what looked like a gun at him before he fired. At least six cops were on the scene, including the off-duty cop who began to follow them early that morning, in marked and unmarked police vehicles—they believed the two 18-year-olds, Najier Salaam and George Richards-Meyers, were responsible for a series of local robberies.

While NJ.com describes Salaam and Richards-Meyers as "armed robbery suspects," the investigation by prosecutors appears to have found that the only weapon recovered by police was a BB gun and, more importantly, according to police themselves the suspects were seen on surveillance video before the incident began hiding the BB gun at the location which police found it.

"A black BB gun, which resembled a real handgun, was recovered near the location of the shooting and surveillance footage showed the suspects hiding the gun at this location prior to their interaction with the police," a statement from the prosecutor read. A BB gun that was hidden away before police interacted with the suspects could not be used to menace any of the cops on the scene—it was hidden.

A third 18-year-old was caught while fleeing from the vehicle—police were initially reported to have recovered a gun from him, but that eventually became a gun recovered "from the scene", and the teen is facing only robbery charges, not weapons charges.

A local anti-violence activist and the families' spokesperson, Salaam Ismial, said the Essex County prosecutor was "very troubled by the shooting," but her office only confirmed that she met with family members and was planning also to meet with Newark officials about the shooting. The prosecutor's office has not yet made the results of their investigation available to the public online. Police, meanwhile, say they'll conduct their own internal investigation. Ismial also suggested the FBI was "set" to investigate the shooting, but the U.S. Attorney's Office, which does not confirm or deny such investigations, told NJ.com the family had not reached out to them but that they were welcome to do so.

The Newark Police Department (NPD) and the U.S. Department of Justice last year finalized an agreement on federal oversight of police. The federal monitor, Peter Harvey, a former state attorney general, is expected to release his first report on how the NPD is progressing on reforms as soon as this month. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, meanwhile, does not appear particularly interested in continuing the 20-plus year practice of investigating local law enforcement agencies for systemic abuses—he has yet to make a decision on whether to pursue a consent decree with the Chicago police after the DOJ last year found a pattern and practice of systemic abuses there.

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  1. This sucks. But what can you do? I don’t want to go down the road of deciding some jury decisions shouldn’t be respected.

    1. You can choose not to live in Newark.

      1. Yeah, but that was a pretty clear choice long before this.

        1. OT: What are the chances of Reason weighing in on the childish insistence of LGBT groups wanting to be included in South Boston’s privately sponsored St. Patty’s day parade?

          1. Should have written “demanding” to be included.

            You want to know from cucks? Gov. Charlie “Too Tall Deval” Baker and Marty Walsh. They won’t participate in the parade if the LGBT groups can’t participate

  2. The cops told county prosecutors they believed they heard a gunshot…

    Only one? I thought this was Newark.

  3. OT, Samantha Bee continues her quest to claim the title of World’s Most Grating and Unfunny Person.


    1. I watched her show one time and it was appallingly unfunny.

      1. Would that mean the laugh was on you?

      2. It really is terrible. There were good reasons to loathe Jon Stewart Daily show, but there was no denying it could be funny. Bee is just as loathsome as Stewart but seems to have no discernable talent to make up for it.

        1. Well she’s in good company with Seth Meyers and John Oliver. I can’t figure out which of those three is the most unfunny smug douchebag.

          1. Oliver can be funny sometimes. Or he could be when I caught him in the past. I haven’t actually watched him do anything in a long time, so…

            1. He was OK on Community.

              1. “We’re friends, right? You respect me? Well, get ready to stop.”

            2. Oliver is the only one that is tolerable of the three. And only sometimes.

          2. Definitely Seth Meyers. He is on another level of douchery. If a douche ever became sentient and assumed a female human form, Seth Meyers is what that humanoid douche would use for douching.

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  5. Why the “police abuse” tag? The cops shot and killed two armed robbers. Good riddance.

    1. Right. It’s completely impossible that police might incorrectly identify a car of innocent people as a car full of armed robbers and shoot at them. Nothing like that has ever happened.

      1. That’s not what happened here. read the link to the original news article. Ed is very misleading in his summary.

        1. At least Ed didn’t refer to the armed robbers as “teenagers”.

        2. I did not follow the link. That does make the shooting seem more reasonable.

          Though I do worry a bit about “look out he has a car” becoming a standard justification for police shooting.

          1. It is a standard justification for police shootings. It shouldn’t be but using a case of a fully justified police shooting of violent felons isn’t going to help persuade anyone of that.

  6. What’s with the “fake news” Ed? Why did you leave out the critical items from the linked article, where they clearly describe the scene as one where the suspects rammed a market police car and continued to accelerate before the shooting began. The office who stated he saw a gun was in another car at the time and was not involved in the initial gunfire….that ‘gun’ sighting was irrelevant to the commencement of the shooting.

    This is not a cop-excess-violence case and its lame for you to misleadingly describe it as such.
    When two armed robbery suspects are boxed in by multiple police cars and decide to ram their way out, I think most people would consider it reasonable for the cops present to use lethal force to stop them.

    1. But these young men were about to turn their lives around; they were considering enrolling in community college.

  7. Cops said they heard gunfire, and one cop said he saw a gun,

    Cops hallucinate gunfire and gun, open fire.

    It’s all good.

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