No charges against N.J. police involved in fatal shooting shown on video
NEW JERSEY — A grand jury has declined to file criminal charges against two police officers involved in a fatal shooting late last year in southern New Jersey, the county prosecutor’s office announced Thursday.
The incident took place last December after Bridgeton police officers Braheme Days and Roger Worley pulled a vehicle over for failing to come to a complete stop at an intersection.
A seemingly light conversation quickly turned ugly, with shouting leading up to the shooting death of 36-year-old Jerame Reid.
Both officers gave statements that they believed that they were in imminent danger and feared for their lives when they opened fire, according to the Cumberland County prosecutor’s office.
CNN’s attempt to reached Reid’s family for a comment were unsuccessful.
The National Awareness Alliance, a civil rights group, plans to request that the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights’ division open an investigation.
“We are disappointed but not surprised” by the decision not to indict the officers, said Walter Hudson, the advocacy group’s chairman and founder. “We have maintained the fact we have no faith or trust in the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office to hold one of their own officers accountable.”
Police yell repeatedly: ‘Show me your hands’
Weeks after the incident, police released dashcam video showing Reid’s final moments.
The video shows Days approaching the vehicle passenger side door, asking how the two men inside the car are doing and identifying himself — a seemingly friendly conversation. He then asks to see a driver’s license.
Suddenly, the officer steps back from the vehicle and pulls his weapon.
Days shouts over and over: “Show me your hands! … Don’t you f****** move!”
He yells at his partner, Worley: “Get ’em out the car, Rog. We got a gun in this glove compartment.”
Days reaches into the car and removes what appears to be a silver handgun. The shouting continues.
“I’ll telling you, I’m going to shoot you! You’re going to be f****** dead!” screams the officer. “You reach for something you’re going to be f****** dead.”
And later: “He’s reaching! He’s reaching!”
Officer recognized Reid from a previous arrest
Days calls Reid by his first name while instructing him to stay in the car.
The officer apparently recognized Reid from an arrest months earlier and both officers were familiar with his criminal history, according to the prosecutor’s office. Reid had been convicted of shooting at law enforcement officers.
Despite the officer’s instructions, Reid appears to push his way out of the passenger side door. He gets out of the car with his hands in front of him.
Both Days and Worley then open fire, after which Reid drops to the ground.
He was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead. An autopsy determined the cause of death as multiple gunshot wounds and manner of death as a homicide.
County, state police investigated the incident
The vehicle’s other occupant did not appear to be injured. He got out of the car, lay on the ground and was handcuffed.
A December statement from the local prosecutor’s office did not identify the driver. It said a handgun was revealed and recovered during the stop.
The shooting was investigated by the county’s prosecutor’s office and the New Jersey State Police crime scene unit.
Bridgeton Police Capt. Michael Gaimari (since named police chief) had described Days and Worley as “very good officers” who had been responsible for “a lot of key arrests.”
Reid had been arrested six times by Bridgeton police since 2009 on allegations of making terroristic threats, harassment, burglary, obstruction, marijuana possession and stalking, according to police records.
The disposition of each case is unknown.
Police and court records list Reid’s first name as Jerome, but the prosecutor’s office listed it as Jerame.
“Jerome put his hand ups,” Hudson, of the National Awareness Alliance, said earlier this year. “You can see Jerome’s hands are clearly up.”