BRIDGETON — Jerame C. Reid was unarmed and had his hands in the air when he was shot and killed by city police officers the evening of Dec. 30, police video shows.
Video taken by a Bridgeton police cruiser’s dashboard camera also shows Officers Braheme Days and Roger Worley shooting at Reid several times after an apparently unarmed Reid got out of the car in which he was a passenger.
Bridgeton police and the county Prosecutor's Office declined to comment on the content of the video.
In the video, it appears that Reid gets out of the car against the orders of Days seconds before Reid is shot.
“No you’re not. No you’re not. Don’t f------ move,” Days yells as he appears to back away from the car.
The door springs open and Reid emerges, hands up at chest level. Days then begins to shoot.
What the video doesn’t show is what was happening inside the car, or what Reid was saying or doing, before the shooting.
What is clear from the video is that the incident that began calmly as a routine traffic stop at Henry Street and South Avenue quickly developed into a hectic encounter in the darkness involving Reid, Days, Worley and Leroy Tutt. Tutt, of Long Branch in Monmouth County, was driving the car, while Reid, who lived in the Seabrook section of Upper Deerfield Township, sat in the front passenger’s seat.
Days approaches the passenger side of the vehicle. Days’ request for a driver’s license is quickly followed by Days drawing his service weapon and bellowing orders to, “Show me your hands. Show me your f------ hands.”
“Get him out of the car, Rog, we got a gun in his glove compartment,” Days calls to Worley, who approached the car after Days pulled his service weapon.
The video shows Days reaching into the car and retrieving a handgun. That is followed by more profanity-laced orders by Days to Reid.
“I tell you, I’m going to shoot you,” Days shouts at Reid. “You’re gonna be f------ dead. You reach for something, you’re going to be f------ dead.”
Worley is standing with his service revolver drawn on the driver’s side of the car. Tutt follows police orders and puts his hands through the car window and keeps them in clear view of Worley.
However, some kind of struggle involving Days and Reid is occurring on the passenger side of the vehicle. Days moves back from the front passenger door. The door opens and Reid gets out of the car, with his hands in the air. Days and Worley then shoot at Reid several times.
Conrad Benedetto, the attorney for the Reid family, saw the video of the incident Tuesday afternoon.
“You see that there was no threat to the officer, and no weapons in the victim’s hands,” Benedetto said later.
The video will be “analyzed,” he said, declining further comment.
The city released the video on Tuesday after The Press of Atlantic City and other media outlets filed Open Public Records Act requests.
City police declined comment on the contents of the video, the “posting” of which department officials said they do not consider to be “compassionate or professional.”
“In absence of the OPRA request this video would not be released to the public out of respect for the family of Jerame Reid, basic human dignity and to protect the constitutional rights of those involved,” the statement reads. “This agency is obligated to comply with all the laws of the United States and the state of New Jersey and based on those laws, we find that keeping this video from the public would be contrary to recent legal decisions concerning public records.”
Cumberland County First Assistant Prosecutor Harold Shapiro declined comment.
Reid, 36, had a criminal record.
Superior Court records and reports in The Press show that Reid, then called Jerome Reid, was 15 years old when he fired three shots at a trio of state troopers in Atlantic County in March 1994. Reid eventually was sentenced to 15 years in state prison on a charge of criminal attempted homicide.
The dashboard camera video seems to indicate that Days knew Reid. Days calls Reid by the name “Jerome” at one point during the incident.
City residents have also filed nine Municipal Court complaints, all essentially charging Days and Worley with harrassment. All the complaints were dismissed.
Reid’s shooting is the subject of an investigation into the use of deadly force by Days and Worley. The investigation is required under state Attorney General’s Office guidelines. Days and Worley are both on paid administrative leave pending the outcome.
Reid’s shooting prompted some protest by residents from Bridgeton and outside the city.
Some of those protesters demanded last week that City Council condemn the shooting. Council members rejected the demand, saying the shooting remains under investigation.
During that same meeting, Mayor Albert Kelly asked residents “not to rush to judgment, but to allow the facts of the investigation reveal themselves in the course of the investigation.”
“These are complex issues,” Kelly said. “I want the facts to lead to the ultimate truth. I am sure the facts will speak for themselves.”
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