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Family demands answers after unarmed Jamaican student was killed by N.J. state trooper

  • Written by Calvin G Brown - wiredja.com
  • Published in Diaspora
Featured The family of Maurice Gordon, a 28-year-old black New York college student, is demanding answers on why a white New Jersey state trooper shot him to death after a freeway traffic stop on May 23, 2020. The family of Maurice Gordon, a 28-year-old black New York college student, is demanding answers on why a white New Jersey state trooper shot him to death after a freeway traffic stop on May 23, 2020.
As Jamaicans the world over joined in the protest over the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, little did they know that only two days before Floyd’s death, a 28 year old Jamaican, Maurice Gordon, was shot to death under questionable circumstances during a routine traffic stop by a New Jersey State Police trooper on the side of the Garden State Parkway.

A New Jersey grand jury will now determine whether Gordon’s shooting by the state police was legal.

New Jersey's attorney general Gurbir Singh Grewal released police dash-camera videos and 911 recordings of a series of incidents leading up to a fatal freeway shooting of the 28-year-old unarmed black man by a white state trooper last month.

In five separate episodes leading up to Gordon's death, police had encounters with him, twice after finding him in his disabled car -- once after he had run out of gas. New Jersey police also pulled him over twice for allegedly driving over 100 m.p.h., according to New Jersey State Attorney General Gurbir Singh Grewal.

The videos and 911 recordings were released after Gordon's family and their attorney demanded answers about the fatal shooting.

A dash-camera video shows the trooper, officials identified as Sgt. Randall Wetzel, in a hand-to-hand struggle with Gordon before six shots from Wetzel's service weapon rang out and Gordon fell, gravely injured, to the ground.

The shooting happened around 6:30 a.m. in Bass River on the Parkway, according to a release from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which is investigating the incident.

The office investigates all incidents where a person dies during an encounter with a police officer in the officer’s official capacity or while the victim is in custody, the office said.

maurice gordon 460According to NJ.com on May 23, the 28-year-old Jamaican chemistry student moonlighting as an Uber Eats driver, was stopped by the state police for speeding.

Maurice Gordon of Poughkeepsie, New York, was unarmed and waiting with a white trooper for a tow truck to arrive because his car wouldn’t restart, according to Gordon’s family’s attorney, William O. Wagstaff III.

Wagstaff told NJ.com  that he learned Gordon was stopped by the trooper in Bass River Township for a speeding violation, but when the officer asked him to pull his car to a different spot on the highway, the car wouldn’t start, as a result the state trooper called for a tow truck, he said.

“Mr. Gordon did not want to remain in his vehicle so after he was frisked for weapons, and none were found, he was invited by the trooper to sit in the back of the police vehicle,” the attorney said.

“Once in the back of the trooper’s vehicle he was made to sit there for more than 30 minutes without any information being provided. He was not being issued a ticket, and there was no indication he was under arrest,” Wagstaff said.

NJ.com says Gordon twice removed his seatbelt and put it back on as the trooper instructed. With no further information from the police, he again apparently removed his seatbelt and tried to exit the cruiser, when the trooper got physical with him and eventually shot him multiple times, Wagstaff said. He then handcuffed the bleeding man, the attorney said.

Wagstaff was unable to say if Gordon died at the scene, in the ambulance or at the hospital. He told the Wall Street Journal that he could hear Gordon screaming in the snippet of the video that was released to him.

At 19, Gordon moved from Spanish Town, Jamaica, to pursue an education in the United States, according to NJ.com. In addition to studying chemistry, he was also a driver for UberEats. 

Gordon’s mother, Racquel Barrett, who flew to New York from London last week to seek out information on the murder of her son, is currently staying in a Poughkeepsie hotel, hoping to get answers about why and how Maurice ended up becoming yet another victim of police brutality.  

Last modified onMonday, 08 June 2020 21:24
  • Countries: United_States