NJ police officer Walker recounts to 911 his shooting of Joseph Harvey, Jr.
Today’s post on the Joseph Walker “road rage” murder trial in Maryland covers the 911 call made by Walker and his wife, apparently simultaneous with Adam Pidel’s 911 call previously covered here: Off-duty cop “Road Rage” 911 call: “They were going to fight on side of road”.
(The transcript of this 911 call was attached as Exhibit D to the defense’s recent motion to dismiss the charges against Walker, and copy is provided at the bottom of this post. This transcript includes attribution of the use of the “N-word” to Harvey by Walker, as Walker describes events to the dispatcher.)
The call appears to have been initiated by Elaine Walker, the wife, but Walker himself takes control of the call within moments of the dispatcher coming on the line. (Walker is identified as “MALE” in the transcript, and his wife as “FEMALE”.)
Walker’s first words to the dispatcher serve to anchor his narrative, and in the passive voice at that:
A police officer got attacked by two people.
He then identifies himself and provides more detail in the first person:
Joseph Walker with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, two people ran us off the road. And they came and attacked me. And I had to fire my weapon at one of them. . . .
I had to fire my weapon. We need an ambulance out here.
I’m an off-duty police officer from New Jersey. My name is Detective Joseph Walker with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. They ran us off the side of the road–
As was the case with Pidel, Walker initially had some difficulty in identifying their specific location for the dispatcher, but it did not take long to straighten out. Around this same time Walker’s wife notes that Pidel (whose name was unknown to her at the time, of course) was also calling on his cell phone–this would have been Pidel’s 911 call.
There’s another guy calling 911 right now. I think he’s calling. I don’t know what he be doing.
At this point Walker is sitting in the Kia minivan alongside his wife, close enough that both their voices are captured in the 911 recording clearly enough to be transcribed.
Walker again sought to describe the events to dispatcher:
Like I said, two of them came out the car. And the heavyset, the driver came at me. And the other person that was with him, he’s talking to him [presumably this is where Pidel was urging Harvey to keep breathing, as captured in Pidel’s 911 recording].
Asked by the dispatcher if they’d had a car accident, Walker said no, then continued:
We don’t know what happened. We were trying to get onto the highway. And the guy, he just came up like beating around our car. And we were, you know — I’m like trying to not him him. And he just kept trying to swerve into me. And then I rolled down my window and said, “You know, what’s your problem?” And he was like “Nigger, I’m not afraid of you.” Nigger this, nigger that.
When asked by the dispatcher what happened to Harvey, Walker again lapses into the passive voice, and then re-emphasizes the disparity of numbers and threatening conduct:
He was shot.
Him and the other person in his vehicle, they pulled us off the road. When I came over off the road onto this little skid place here — him and the other individuals were coming out of their vehicle.
Walker’s use of the passive voice clearly confuses the dispatcher, giving rise to this exchange:
Dispatch: Okay. The person that shot him, is he still there?
Walker: Yes. That’s, ma’am, that’s me.
Dispatch: That’s you. Okay. What is your name?
Walker: I’m a police officer. Joseph Walker.
The transcript gets a little confusing at this point as there are two different dispatchers engaged in discussion with Walker and each other, and there’s some repetitive exchange of information as a result.
Soon after, however, the police arrive, and dispatch turns things over to the responding officers.
Here’s the actual transcript of Walker’s 911 call:
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