South Jersey Police Shooting Draws National Attention

After Ferguson and New York, a new incident raises questions, ire.

Video of a South Jersey police-involved shooting has drawn national attention, becoming the latest flashpoint in the debate over policing practices.

The incident took place in Bridgeton, south of Philadelphia.

“The video is from December 30th when two police officers pulled over two men in a car,” 6ABC reports. “Officers Braheme Days and Roger Worley ordered 36-year-old Jerame Reid not to move before Reid appears to push his way out of the passenger side door. The video appears to show Reid with his hands in front of him as he stands to get out of the car and is shot and killed by the officers.”

“I’m going to shoot you,” Days shouted in the video,  the Associated Press reported. “You’re going to be f—ing dead. If you reach for something, you’re going to be f—ing dead.”

In a statement, Cumberland County prosecutors have said “during the course of the stop a handgun was revealed and later recovered.” According to the South Jersey Times, “Police have not said who the gun belonged to. The video appears to show Days removing a silver object from the car.”

The video was made public after open-records requests by area newspapers. The New York Daily News reports: “The Bridgeton Police Department released a statement Tuesday expressing it was upset over the video’s release, calling it unprofessional and uncompassionate ‘out of respect for the family.'”

The Press of Atlantic City reports that Reid’s mother is calling for an independent investigation. “Lawanda Reid wants the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office to turn over the investigation to the state Attorney General’s Office or another ‘independent law enforcement agency,’ according to a statement released by her attorney,” the paper reports.

“While our investigation is still ongoing, the city of Bridgeton’s release of the police cruiser’s video footage showing the shooting of Mr. Reid raises serious questions as to the legality and the reasonableness of the officers’ actions that night,” the family attorney said.

“As after the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner — unarmed African American men killed by police last year — the shooting was quickly denounced,” the Washington Post reports. “The video speaks for itself that at no point was Jerame Reid a threat and he possessed no weapon on his person,’ Walter Hudson, chairman and founder of the civil-rights group the National Awareness Alliance, said. ‘He complied with the officer and the officer shot him.’”

Others weren’t so sure, saying police officers have plenty of latitude to use force in such situations.

“It’s an objective reasonableness test,” John Eastlack, a Cherry Hill attorney, told the South Jersey Times. “If a police officer objectively and reasonably feels he is placed in risk of death or personal injury, a police officer is allowed to use deadly force.”

Both officers are on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.