A New Jersey police officer’s fatal shooting of Jerame Reid in the city of Bridgeton in December is being compared to the violent officer-involved incidents that led to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner last year. The release of a dashcam video this week showed how a routine traffic stop transformed into the confrontation that ended in Reid’s death.
Police officers pulled over Reid, a 36-year-old black man, on Dec. 30 after the car he was a passenger in ran through a stop sign. Officer Braheme Days, who is black, approached the passenger side of the car. Days explains to the car’s occupants that they were pulled over for failing to stop.
The situation escalated when Days told his partner that he spotted a gun in the car’s glove compartment. Days’ partner, officer Roger Worley, who is white, approached the driver’s side with his gun drawn while Days repeatedly shouted “Don’t you f---ing move!” and “Show me your hands” at Reid. Days reached into the car and appeared to remove the gun from the glove compartment.
(WARNING: Video contains graphic images and language.)
Reid appears to repeatedly ignore Days’ instructions and attempted to exit the vehicle, prompting Days to warn, “I’m going to shoot you, you’re going to be f---king dead. If you reach for something, you’re going to be dead.” Reid then forced his way out of the passenger door, exited the vehicle and appeared to raise his hands as Days shot him several times, killing him.
“The video speaks for itself that at no point was Jerame Reid a threat and he possessed no weapon on his person,” Walter Hudson, chairman and founder of the civil rights group National Awareness Alliance said, according to the Associated Press. “He complied with the officer and the officer shot him.”
Days could have used other tactics to restrain Reid, Hudson told the AP. Both Days and Worley were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting.
“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,” the Bridgeton Police Deptartment said in a statement, according to the New York Daily News.
The Reid killing occurred months after Officer Darren Wilson of Ferguson, Missouri, fatally shot Brown, an unarmed teenager, during an Aug. 9 altercation. Some accounts alleged Brown raised his hands in surrender before he was shot. Protests against police brutality raged throughout the United States in the weeks after Brown’s death and intensified after prosecutors declined in November to pursue criminal charges against Wilson. “Hands up, don’t shoot” became a popular rallying cry for Brown’s supporters.
Garner, a 43-year-old father of six in the New York City borough of Staten Island, died in July after New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo applied an illegal chokehold during an attempted arrest. A grand jury’s decision in December not to indict Pantaleo led to protests throughout New York City and the nation at large. Demonstrators staged “die-ins” and adopted the phrase “I can’t breathe” to protest the unarmed man’s death at the hands of police.