BRIDGETON, N.J. — Another police killing is stirring anger in a U.S. city, this time in New Jersey, where a tense traffic stop captured on video ended with a passenger shot to death as he stepped out of a car with his hands raised at shoulder height.
The newly released footage from a police dashboard camera shows police in a Dec. 30 stop that escalates quickly after one officer warns his partner about seeing a gun in the glove compartment of the Jaguar.
Bridgeton officer Braheme Days screams over and over at the passenger, Jerame Reid, “Show me your hands!” and “If you reach for something, you’re going to be f—— dead!” The officer appears to reach into the car and remove the gun. But the brief standoff ends with Reid disregarding Days’ order to not move, stepping out and getting shot.
The shooting has touched off protests in Bridgeton, a struggling city of about 25,000 people — two-thirds of them black or Hispanic — outside Philadelphia. The case came after months of turbulent demonstrations and violence over the killings of unarmed black men by white police officers in New York and Ferguson, Missouri. Eric Garner’s death in New York was captured on video, while Michael Brown’s in Ferguson was not.
Days is black, his partner white. The passenger was black, as was the driver.
Both officers have been placed on leave while the Cumberland County prosecutor’s office investigates.
Activists are calling on the prosecutor to transfer the case to the state attorney general. First Assistant Prosecutor Harold Shapiro would not comment on the investigation Wednesday.
“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.”
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.
The video was released through open records requests from the South Jersey Times and the Press of Atlantic City.
The officers had pulled over the Jaguar for rolling through a stop sign, and the encounter starts friendly. But Days suddenly steps back, pulls his gun and tells the men, “Show me your hands.” Days tells his partner there is 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 the standoff of less than two minutes.
“I’m going to shoot you!” Days shouts, referring to Reid at one point by his first name. “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.
Someone then says, “I’m getting out and getting on the ground,” but Days yells at Reid not to move.
The passenger door pops open and Reid emerges. His hands are at about shoulder height and appear to be empty. As he steps out, the officers fire at least six shots.
After the shooting, there are shouts from people in the area, and other police and emergency vehicles arrive.