Credit: Gordon family photo

William O. Wagstaff, III, the attorney, who represents the family of 2020 police killing victim Maurice Gordon, Jr. has filed a lawsuit in United States District Court in the District of New Jersey, Camden Vicinage.

Gordon was fatally shot by New Jersey State Police Sergeant Randall Wetzell after a traffic stop on the Garden State Parkway on May 23, 2020. Gordon was waiting for a tow truck and Wetzel offered to allow Gordon to wait in the backseat of Wetzel’s patrol car. Gordon left the patrol car and the two can be heard getting into a physical altercation.

Caught on police dashcam video, officials from the New Jersey Attorney General stated that Gordon tried to get into the driver’s seat of Wetzel’s patrol vehicle. The remainder of physical interaction was out of camera range when Wetzel opened fire shooting Gordon six times, killing him. The officer claims Gordon tried to reach for his weapon.

Wagstaff said that Gordon’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the State of New Jersey, State Trooper Sgt. Randall Wetzel, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan and other unnamed individuals.

“The family is alleging that Junior’s constitutional and other rights were violated and that racism in policing led to excessive force and Junior’s wrongful death and is demanding a trial by jury,” Wagstaff said. “Furthermore, with the anniversary of his death approaching, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office has still failed to send the case of Junior’s killing to the grand jury as required by New Jersey State law, nor has the Attorney General released crucial evidence to the family.”

In June 2020, Grewal released audio and video recordings related to the shooting. His office said the shooting remains under investigation.

“It is the hope that through discovery as a result of this lawsuit, the family will finally get answers to the questions about Junior’s final moments when Sergeant Wetzel shot him six times, and the actions of responders on the scene,” Wagstaff said.