NJ Police Shoot Unarmed Man With Hands Raised: 'There Is No Reason He Should Be Dead'

( [email protected] ) Jan 22, 2015 02:48 PM EST
Fatal Police Shooting in NJ
Footage taken from a fatal police shooting in a southern NJ town. Photo: Screengrab via NJ.com

A disturbing new video of two police officers shooting and killing Jerame Reid as he tried to get out of a car with his hands up has sparked outrage across a nation acutely sensitive to police brutality.

The footage, captured on Dec. 30 by a police dashboard camera and obtained by South Jersey Times through an open-records request, shows officers making a traffic stop in Bridgeton, New Jersey.

Suddenly, the situation becomes tense as one of the officers, Braheme Days, informs his partner that there appears to be a gun in the glove compartment of the car.

Screaming over and over "Don't you f---ing move!" and "Show me your hands!" at the man in the passenger seat, the officer reached into the car and appeared to pull out a gun.

Then, the passenger, despite being warned repeatedly not to move, stepped out of the Jaguar, his hands raised about shoulder level.

Officer Days appears to shoot first, followed with several shots fired from his partner, killing Reid.

Shortly after the shooting, Officer Days and his partner were placed on leave pending a Cumberland County prosecutor's office investigation regarding the use of deadly force. An autopsy was conducted the following day, but the results haven't been made public.

Reid's death has sparked protests in Bridgeton and anger across the nation, with many still reeling over the recent killings of unarmed men by police officers.

During one of the demonstrations, protesters used the phrases "Hands up, Don't shoot" and "No justice, no peace," similar to what was said during protests in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.

"It's a very difficult situation, because we respect our officers and we know their job is dangerous," said Araisha Simpson, who participated in the demonstrations.

"But there was no reason to kill Reid, there was no reason to shoot at him, there is absolutely no reason he should be dead. This was a blatant case of police brutality. We are praying for his family and for everyone involved."

Walter Hudson, chair and founder of the civil rights group the National Awareness Alliance, said: "The video speaks for itself that at no point was Jerame Reid a threat and he possessed no weapon on his person.

"He complied with the officer and the officer shot him."

Reid's wife, Lawanda, was among those who viewed the video on Tuesday, shortly after its release.

"It's traumatic," Philadelphia-based attorney Conrad J. Benedetto told the New York Daily News. "She is extremely upset. To see someone that close to you, it is a powerful thing. There is a lot of shock value to it."

He added that the footage "raises serious questions as to the legality and/or reasonableness of the officers' actions that night" because Reid was shot as he raised his hands.

The Bridgeton Police Department released a statement Tuesday calling the release of the video unprofessional and uncompassionate "out of respect for the family."

"Since this remains a criminal investigation being conducted by the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office with assistance from the New Jersey State Police the administration of the Bridgeton Police Dept. will refrain from any further comment other than that it fully supports the officers involved as well as the legal process this incident is subject to," it added.

According to NJ.com, Reid, 36, had spent 13 years in prison for shooting at New Jersey State Police troopers when he was a teenager. He was arrested in 2014 on charges including drug possession and obstruction.