No criminal charges in Jerame Reid police shooting

Cyril Josh Barker | 9/3/2015, 11:41 a.m.
Reports out of New Jersey indicate that a grand jury has decided not to charge the two police officers involved ...
Jerame C. Reid

Reports out of New Jersey indicate that a grand jury has decided not to charge the two police officers involved in the shooting death of Jerame Reid in Bridgeton.

Black police officer Braheme Days fatally shot Reid in December. Days claimed he saw a gun in the glove compartment of the vehicle Reid was riding in. The incident was captured on a police dashboard camera.

Reid was unarmed when he was shot to death.

“With the utmost respect for the family of the late Jerame Reid, the department as a whole has supported and will continue to support the actions of the officers since the night of the tragic incident,” said Bridgeton Police Chief Michael Gaimari on social media. “Officers must make split-second decisions routinely, and unfortunately, at times, those decisions can be fatal.”

In a published interview, Reid’s wife said she was “disgusted” and “embarrassed to be a citizen of Bridgeton.” Many in the community say that the investigation was kept secret in the past eight months.

“Both officers explained in their statements, in substance, that they feared for their lives,” said a press release issued by First Assistant Prosecutor Harold Shapiro. “The grand jury was instructed on potential criminal charges against the two officers, as well as the law of justification—the use of force in protection of self and others—and based on their consideration of the facts and circumstances, declined to indict the two officers.”

Walter Hudson, chair of the National Awareness Alliance, said in a statement that although Reid’s family and the community are disappointed, they are not surprised.

“We have led several protest and marches around this injustice,” he said. “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. What is surprising about this case is the fact it took this long to arrive at an already preconceived idea to not indict police officers.”

Reid’s family, along with Hudson, is in the process of trying to get the U.S. attorney’s office in Newark, N.J., to probe the shooting. Last week, 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 arriving, the group was escorted out of the Peter W. Rodino Federal Building by Homeland Security officers. The group was trying to have a meeting with U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman but were told he was not available.

Hudson said, “Jerame Reid was unarmed and still shot to death on tape. The culture of policing in America clearly shows we must push for police reform. There seems to be no justice for Black, Brown and poor people who are unjustifiably murdered at the hands of police.”