Cumberland County officials are supporting their Prosecutor’s Office in connection with the agency’s investigation of the fatal shooting of an Upper Deerfield Township man by Bridgeton police last month.
The Prosecutor’s Office is capable of performing a fair investigation into the shooting of Jerame C. Reid, Cumberland County Freeholders James Sauro said.
Cumberland County Freeholder Director Joseph Derella said he was very happy with how Bridgeton officials and clergy, along with state NAACP officials, voiced their support of the investigation last week. He said he expects the investigation to fair.
Both Sauro and Derella, speaking at the freeholder meeting at the Cumberland County court house in Bridgeton on Tuesday, lauded Bridgeton residents for their patience and peaceful protests in the wake of Reid’s shooting.
Sauro also said that the intervention of organizations from outside the Cumberland County is not welcome.
“Let’s not let outsiders dictate what we do,” Sauro said.
Much of the protest of Reid’s shooting is being led by the Salem County-based National Awareness Alliance. The organization has demanded that state authorities take over the investigation, alleging there are too many conflicts within the Prosecutor’s Office for that agency to perform a fair and impartial investigation.
The state Attorney General’s’ Office has thus far declined to intervene in the investigation, saying it is being conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office “in accordance with the state’s well-established procedures.” The Attorney General’s Office will eventually review the findings by the Prosecutor’s Office.
Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae has excused herself from the investigation because she knows Braheme Days, one of the police officers involved in the shooting. Webb-McRae was at Tuesday’s freeholder meeting and made no comment.
Reid, 36, of the Seabrook section of Upper Deerfield Township, was fatally shot following a traffic stop at Henry Street and South Avenue the evening of Dec. 30. Law enforcement officials said Days and Officer Roger Worley discharged their service weapons after a handgun was “revealed” and then “recovered.”
A video taken by the dashboard camera of the patrol car used by Days and Worley shows a hectic series of events that ended with Reid being shot as he got out of the motor vehicle in which he was a passenger. The video seems to indicate that Reid was unarmed and was holding his hands at chest level when shot.
The video also indicates that Reid was not following orders given by Days, including instructions for Reid not to move. Statements by Days indicate he believed Reid was “reaching” for something in the vehicle before Reid got out of the vehicle.
No charges were levied against Leroy Tutt, the Long Branch, Monmouth County, resident who was driving the vehicle.