Two Bridgeton NJ police officers shot and killed 36-year-old Jerame Reid during a traffic stop last night, reports NBC 10 News our of Philadelphia (see embedded video, below).  The officers, Braheme Days and Roger Worley, are on paid leave as the killing remains under investigation.  Prosecutors have released little information, but a gun was recovered at the scene.  An autopsy is scheduled for today, although there seems little question as to the cause of death.

The witness circus, so familiar from the Michael Brown shooting, seems to have already begun.  It remains to be seen whether the witnesses in this instance have any greater credibility than those in Ferguson who claimed that Brown was shot in the back while fleeing, that Brown was shot while on his knees, that Brown had never advanced on Officer Darren Wilson, and other such creativities.

One witness, Tahli Dawkins, claims that Reid had nothing in his hands and was trying to get out of the car when he was shoot. Another, Ben Mosley, claims Reid was trying to get back into the car. All this witnessed movement seems odd, given that yet another witness, Zakeeda Hill, says that police were shouting “don’t you f*cking move” just before they started firing.  Hill also reports that Reid was being uncooperative with the police stop, arguing “We ain’t got nothing, why you pulling us over?”

Nothing, apparently except a handgun in the car.  Being in New Jersey, the handgun was almost certainly illegal, a prospect made more likely by the fact that Jerame Reid apparently has a prior criminal history and incarceration, based upon statements by family members.  Reid’s cousin, Keesha Spring is reported to have said:

He had a troubled past but after that he became a good person. . . . Everybody has their bad times and he had his bad times. But he was very lovable.

And Reid’s wife, Lawanda, was reported to have said:

My husband was no saint; he was not perfect–he had a background, but he walked out of there a free man.

Despite Reid having been 36-years-old when killed, witness statements are also replete with the juvenile-style descriptors that have become a staple of such events.  Cousin Keisha Spring describes this grown man as “a good kid.”  Witness Zakeeda Hill, in describing the event, states that “they just killed that boy.”

Unknown, of course, is to what extent Sharpton orchestrated protests against the police, marches calling for dead cops “Now!” and tweets calling for cops to be shot in the head (at least two a day, of course) might have contributed to a growing expectation among officers that a non-compliant suspect may intend to bring deadly force against them.

We’ll post again as more news develops.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


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Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.
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