BRIDGETON, N.J. (AP) — A grand jury has voted not to file charges against two police officers for fatally shooting a man who defied orders by stepping out of a car with his hands raised during a traffic stop, a killing captured by their patrol car's dashboard camera, prosecutors said Thursday.
The officers told investigators that they feared for their lives during the December 2014 stop of 36-year-old Jerame Reid, according to a statement from the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office. The officers had arrested Reid in August 2014 on charges of resisting arrest and knew that he had been convicted as a teenager of shooting at state troopers, investigators said.
Screaming repeatedly "Don't you (expletive) move!" and "Show me your hands!" at Reid, who was sitting in the passenger seat, Officer Braheme Days reached into the car and removed a handgun.
The video shows Reid getting out of the car with his hands up, but Days — who was holding both his service weapon and the recovered gun — told investigators that he believed Reid "had a weapon or was planning to take the handgun(s) out of his hands."
The statement said Days "perceived that he and his partner were in imminent danger" and that his partner, Officer Roger Worley, "likewise believed that his partner was in imminent danger."
Prosecutors say Days fired seven shots and Worley fired once. The shooting lasted approximately 2 seconds and Reid was hit in the chest and left arm, according to prosecutors. Days is black, Worley is white and Reid was black.
The statement from First Assistant Prosecutor Harold Shapiro said the grand jury was instructed on potential criminal charges against the officers and the state's rules for justified force. On Wednesday, the jurors declined to indict the officers.
Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McCrae recused herself because she knew Days.
The shooting in Bridgeton, where two-thirds of the residents are black or Hispanic, stirred protests and opened up a rift between the police department and residents in the struggling city of 25,000 people about 35 miles south of Philadelphia.
Reid's widow, Lawanda, filed a $1 million federal civil rights lawsuit accusing the city of condoning excessive force by its officers. She also reached a tentative settlement against the county for $340,000 for abuse Jerame Reid had earlier said he suffered in jail.
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