Dec. 30 marks one year since the police shooting death of Jerame Reid in New Jersey. Civil rights activists and other groups rallied Monday, calling for federal intervention in the case.
Community activists Walter Hudson of the National Awareness Alliance and Larry Hamm of the People’s Organization for Progress led the rally and march in Bridgeton, N.J. that started at South Avenue and Henry Street. Dozens of demonstrators came from Newark, Philadelphia and New York City.
“I’m going to keep his spirit alive—I’m going keep doing this until we get justice, and I’m going do it by any means necessary,” Reid's mother, Shelia, said. “I want these police officers convicted—they need their badges and their guns taken away from them. I need them put in jail just like my son was put in jail when he shot at state troopers.”
Also in attendance at the rally was the grandmother of Kashad Ashford, Cecile Hepburn. Ashford was killed by police in Newark after a car chase in September 2014.
Reid was fatally shot by Black Bridgeton police officer Braheme Days, who along with his partner, officer Roger Worley, had stopped the car in which Reid was a passenger for a traffic violation. Days claimed he saw a gun in the glove compartment of the vehicle. The incident was captured by the officers’ dashboard camera.
A grand jury has decided not to charge the officers involved in Reid’s death. First Assistant Prosecutor Harold Shapiro said the grand jury was instructed on potential criminal charges as well as the law of justification and based their decision on the consideration of the facts and circumstances.
“It is clear that Mayor Albert Kelly and Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McCrae have taken the cowardice way out and not held police officers accountable for their torture of residents in the Bridgeton community,” Hudson said. “We will continue to protest and dramatize the killing of Jerame Reid until U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman launches an official civil rights investigation into Jerame’s death.”
At the time of his death, Reid alleged that he was brutally assaulted by correction officers in the Cumberland County jail in 2009 and filed a lawsuit. He claimed he was punched, kicked and pepper sprayed and had a bucket of cold water poured on him, suffering broken ribs, a fractured left orbital bone and nerve damage to his face.
Cumberland County approved a settlement of $340,000 to Reid’s estate.
Reid’s family, along with Hudson, continue to try to get the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark to probe the shooting. In September, supporters from the community and family members went to the office to deliver a letter requesting the Department of Justice Civil Right Division get involved.
Shortly after arrival, the group was escorted out of the Peter W. Rodino Federal Building by Homeland Security officers. The group was attempting to meet with U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman but were told he was not available.