The NJ Attorney General has released the names of the officers who shot and killed Nazi Seabrooks

The NJ Attorney General has released the names of the officers who shot and killed Nazi Seabrooks

PATERSON – The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office released the names of the Paterson police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a violence intervention specialist late Wednesday night. Nazi Seabrooks.

Two Paterson police officers assigned to the department’s emergency response team, Anjor Say and Jose Hernandez, fired their weapons and struck Seabrooks in what concluded an hour-long standoff Friday, the attorney general’s office said. Tsay and Hernandez discharged their weapons at approximately 12:35 p.m. Friday inside an apartment at 20 Mill St. where Seabrooks had barricaded himself.

Seabrooks was later taken to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 12:51 p.m. Friday.

The attorney general’s office said Hector Mendez, Kiad Lin and Mario Vadvacak used “less lethal force” during the encounter.

Participants in a rally for Nazi Seabrooks march toward the Patterson Public Safety Complex on Tuesday, March 7, 2023. Naji Seabrooks, a member of the violence intervention group Paterson Healing Collective, was fatally shot after a standoff when Paterson police barricaded him. inside his house.

The attorney general’s office has not previously released the names of the officers involved, citing apparent threats. Authorities did not provide more information about the alleged threat, but activists questioned the validity of the AG’s explanation.

“I think that excuse doesn’t make sense,” said Jelly Thomas, leader of the Black Lives Matter group in Patterson. “Anger at the death of a peaceful man that is justified is anger about the lack of clarity, what is justified is anger because it is happening.”

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‘He screamed for help’

Meanwhile, Seabrooks’ colleagues at the Patterson Healing Collective told the City Council Tuesday night about phone conversations and text message exchanges with their friend hours before he died in a police shooting.

Also, Seabrooks’ cousin, Nicole Anthony, told the council that Seabrooks herself made the 911 call that brought police to her home the morning she was killed.

“He called you for help,” Anthony told the council. “He was a threat to himself. He was not a threat to the police.

“He screamed for help, and when you came to help him, you killed him,” Seabrooks’ cousin said.

Casey Melvin and Teddy Martinez of the Patterson Healing Collective told the council that Seabrooks contacted each of them and asked them to come to his home on Mill Street.

“He said, ‘They’re trying to kill me, bro, come here now,'” Melvin said.

Melvin said he arrived soon and sent Seabrooks a text letting him know he was there.

“He said, ‘Come on up,'” Melvin said.

But Melvin said the lieutenant in charge of the scene, Lt. Louis Spagnola, wouldn’t let him inside. During the council meeting and at a rally Tuesday night, Melvin and Martinez blamed Spagnola for Seabrooks’ death.

Nazi Seabrooks

Nazi Seabrooks

It remains unclear what predisposed Seabrooks to a mental health crisis that day. The attorney general’s office, which is leading the investigation, has not released any details about why police were sent to his home or what happened while they were there. Senior city officials have said privately that Seabrooks was wielding multiple knives and moving toward police officers when he was shot.

But his friends and family said the officers should not have fired their guns because they were wearing protective riot gear and armed with a shield.

Anthony said the police should have used a “different tactic”.

“Where was the mace?” she asked. “Where was the flash bomb? Where was the taser?”

During Tuesday’s council meeting, Seabrooks’ father spoke to the crowd in a phone call from Northern State Prison, where he is serving a 45-year sentence.

“You have to stand up for my son,” said Willie Seabrooks II, the son of a longtime Paterson police detective who was employed as a corrections officer before being arrested in a 2006 hostage incident.

“Please don’t let them sweep this under the rug,” Seabrooks said of her son’s death, saying she was wrongly convicted of a crime she didn’t commit.

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Officers are looking for body cam footage

Meanwhile, activists have been demanding the release of body camera recordings of police officers involved in Seabrooks’ death.

The Paterson Press filed a public records request with the City of Paterson last Saturday for those videos, as well as recordings of all 911 calls and police radio transmissions during the Seabrooks incident. The city has yet to respond to those requests.

Mayor Andre Sayegh issued a statement Wednesday afternoon calling for the body camera recordings to be released.

“We want the truth and that is why I am asking for the immediate release of the body camera footage of this tragic incident,” Sayegh said.

Asked why the city did not release the videos itself in response to Patterson Press requests, the mayor’s staff said Patterson was complying with attorney general guidelines that do not allow the city to release recordings in police deadly force cases.

Lawyer C.J. Griffin, one of New Jersey’s leading champions of government transparency and freedom of information litigation, filed a public records request in the Seabrooks case that told the attorney general’s office about threats of charges against Paterson police.

Griffin said it is rare for the attorney general’s office to withhold the names of police officers in response to records requests. In one such denial, Griffin sued the state and won, saying the court rejected security concerns as a reason to withhold the names. Griffin was not satisfied with the information the attorney general’s office provided Tuesday.

“It’s been several days, and no official information has been released — only unnamed sources have selectively told the press,” Griffin said earlier in the day about the Seabrooks investigation. “The community is mourning and protesting, demanding an explanation. Delay is painful.”

Griffin said the state offered an explanation for the officials’ anonymity.

The attorney general’s office said, “Releasing information identifying the officers involved would jeopardize their safety and could jeopardize ongoing investigations.” “A specific real threat was made against law enforcement officers. Accordingly, disclosure of their identifying information would not only be ‘injurious to a genuine law enforcement purpose’ but also ‘to public safety’.

Joe Malinconico is an editor at Patterson Press. Email: [email protected]

This article originally appeared on Naji Seabrooks: NJ AG won’t release police numbers

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