BRIDGETON, N.J. (AP) — A newly released video shows a tense traffic stop last month in which a man stepping out of a car with his hands raised at shoulder height was fatally shot by police.
The video from a police car dashboard camera shows Bridgeton officers Braheme Days and Roger Worley in a Dec. 30 traffic stop that escalates quickly after Days warned his partner about seeing a gun and then saying that the vehicle’s passenger was reaching for something in the car. It ends with passenger Jerame Reid disregarding Days’ order to not move, getting out of the car and being shot to death.
The officers had pulled over the Jaguar for rolling through a stop sign, and the encounter started friendly. But after Reid tells Days that they had stopped at the sign, Days suddenly steps back, pulls his gun and tells them, “Show me your hands.” Days tells his partner that there’s a gun in the glove compartment and then appears to reach in and remove a handgun.
The driver, Leroy Tutt, is seen showing his hands atop the open window on his side of the car. It’s not clear what Reid is doing, though Days repeatedly warns him not to move during an interaction that lasts less than two minutes.
“I’m going to shoot you,” Days shouts in a speech laced with profanity. “You’re going to be … dead. If you reach for something, you’re going to be … dead.”
“I ain’t got no reason to reach for nothing, bro, I ain’t got no reason to reach for nothing,” Reid says as Days continues to yell to his partner that Reid is reaching for something.
Reid then says, “I’m getting out and getting on the ground.” Days tells him not to move, but Reid repeats that he’s getting out.
The passenger door then pops open, but it’s not clear whether Reid or Days opens it. Reid then emerges from the vehicle. His hands are at about shoulder height, and they appear to be empty. As he steps out, the officers fire at least six shots, killing him.
Days is out of the frame when the shots ring out. It’s unclear how many times each officer shoots.
After the shooting, there are shouts from people who are in the area and other police and emergency vehicles arrive. Tutt follows officers’ commands, gets out of the vehicle and calmly lies down on the street.
The video was first obtained through open records requests from the South Jersey Times and the Press of Atlantic City.
The shooting has sparked protests in the southern New Jersey city. The case came after some high-profile killings of unarmed black men by white police officers across the country last year. Reid, Days and Tutt are black; Worley is white.
Activists are calling on the Cumberland County prosecutor to transfer the case to the state attorney general. County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McCrae has recused herself from the case because she previously knew Days. First Assistant Prosecutor Harold Shapiro said Wednesday that he could not comment on the investigation.
“The video speaks for itself that at no point was Jerame Reid a threat and he possessed no weapon on his person,” said Walter Hudson, chair and founder of the civil rights group the National Awareness Alliance. “He complied with the officer and the officer shot him.”
Hudson said Days had options other than firing his weapon, but “he didn’t take the other options.”
The National Awareness Alliance & National Action Network’s Atlantic City chapter scheduled a news conference on the shooting for Wednesday afternoon.
Both officers have been placed on administrative leave while the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office investigates the case.
Reid, 36, had spent about 13 years in prison for shooting at New Jersey State Police troopers when he was a teenager. He was also arrested last year on charges including drug possession and obstruction; Days was one of the arresting officers then. Relatives said he had a baby son.
(Photo Source: NJ.com)