A traffic stop in New Jersey ended with the passenger, Mr. Jerame Reid, dead and the driver, Mr. Leroy Tutt, missing, with little inquiry as to his whereabouts.
An associate of mine, a bureaucrat, once told me that we, the public, should ask a broader set of questions when unarmed citizens die at the hands police officers.
More often than not, when news breaks of a fatal officer-involved shooting, the majority of the public, pundits and politicos usually question whether race played a part, and that’s usually where the line of questioning ends.
The unfortunate sensationalism of police killings captivates consumers of media, but it doesn’t trigger the inquiry needed to really unearth the facts and context of what occurred.
This is especially true in the case of Mr. Jerame Reid, who was killed with his hands up during a traffic stop on December 30th, 2014, after several bullets from two Bridgeton police officers’ gun pierced his 36 year-old body.
The incident was caught on video and shows the shooting officer, Mr. Braheme Days, initially approaching the passenger side, where Mr. Reid sat, and requesting identification.
“That was strange, but not unusual,” said Mr. Asa Khalif, whose cousin, Mr. Brandon Tate-Brown, was killed 15 days before Mr. Reid’s death by a Philadelphia police officer during a traffic stop. “All of it was chaotic, though.”
Soon after requesting identification, the officer noticed a gun in the glove compartment and quickly pulled out his. A lot of screaming and yelling ensued and there was a brief struggle: Mr. Reid kept trying to exit the car and the officer wanted him to stay inside.
Mr. Reid eventually pushed his way out the car with his hands up and within seconds was gunned down.The driver, Mr. Leroy Tutt, was soon commanded to exit the vehicle by the other officer on the scene, Mr. Roger Worley.
“That’s the last time Leroy was seen, said Mr. Walter Hudson, an activist whose been leading the “Justice for Jerame Reid” effort and who has been communicating regularly with Mr. Reid’s mother, Ms. Sheila Reid.
In her first interview with the news media, the mother of the deceased, said Mr. Hudson, asked: Where’s the driver; why were they focused on my son?
“Everything is and was focused on Jerame exiting the car with his hands up,” said Mr. Hudson, who told me that Mr. Tutt, who seemed to have been a friend to the deceased, didn’t attend the funeral nor call the mother to express condolences. “Some friend, huh?,” Mr. Hudson remarked to himself.
The value of having Mr. Tutt visible as legal and civil matters play out is enormous, suggest Mr. Hudson, “he can attest to what happened inside the car and say who was reaching for what.”
Last Thursday a grand jury declined to indict the two officers involved in Mr. Reid’s death. Mr. Hudson said he knew that would be the outcome, but when news broke it still felt like “a punch in the stomach.”
“The prosecutor’s office acted as a criminal defense attorney for the two cops,” Mr. Hudson alleges.
Now seeking redress, Mr. Hudson and his comrades – which include Mr. Lawrence Hamm, who spearheaded a massive march and rally in Newark, New Jersey last month – are seeking a federal investigation and today hand delivered a letter to the office of U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.
Mr. Fishman wasn’t present, despite Mr. Hudson’s claim that he had 48 hours notice, and was forced to meet with “a bunch of assistants.”
According to PressofAtlanticCity.com, Mr. Fishman’s team has received the letter and has invited Mr. Hudson and others for a meeting sometime after Labor Day.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™