Paterson, New Jersey activists are calling for the suspension of the officers involved in the fatal shooting of Najee Seabrooks.
On March 3, in Paterson, New Jersey Police shot and killed Najee Seabrooks, a Black man who was suffering from a mental health crisis. Now Seabrooks’ family is demanding that the officers involved be held accountable for his death.
Over the past week, protests in the Garden State have amplified as activists and community members called for full transparency, including the release of bodycam footage from the time of the incident.
According to North Jersey, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office on Monday, asking the FBI for a federal investigation into the death of Najee Seabrooks.
“Mr. Seabrooks desperately needed and deserved treatment, which was available to him, not a death sentence imposed upon him by PPD,” the letter said.
The letter also listed multiple examples of misconduct within the Paterson Police department, urging federal officials to take action.
“Residents of Paterson have lived for years under a police department with a history of excessive force and other abuse, all felt disproportionately by Black and Brown residents in one of the most diverse cities in the country,” said the group’s letter.
The People’s Organization for Progress has also demanded that the federal government get involved in Seabrooks’ case.
“We are calling for a Department of Justice investigation. We think there is a pattern and practice in Paterson that warrants such an investigation, and we think the Paterson Police Department should be put under federal authority. A consent decree should be put into place and an independent federal monitor should be put over the Paterson Police,” Lawrence Hamm, with People’s Organization for Progress, told CBS.
Najee Seabrooks was killed by Paterson Police on March 3 after a four-hour altercation at a residence on Mill Street. According to reports, police were responding to calls of a mentally distressed person in Seabrooks’ home. When authorities arrived on the scene they allegedly found Seabrooks barricaded inside the apartment. Police were eventually let into his house and after lengthy negotiations, Seabrooks allegedly charged officers with a knife and was shot by two officers.
Officers involved in the shooting have been identified by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. According to authorities, Anzore Tsay and Jose Hernandez were the officers who shot Seabrooks.
He was later pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center.
Najee Seabrooks was a father and an anti-violence advocate who regularly mentored youth.
“Najee was out just to help his community. He was a good kid. He was well-known in the community. All he wanted to do was help the community,” his mother told CBS News.
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