By BILL HUTCHINSON, DAISHA RILEY and GERRY WAGSCHAL, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — New Jersey’s attorney general is expected on Monday to release police body camera footage that captured the fatal shooting of a 28-year-old unarmed black man by a white state trooper last month during an encounter on a highway.
Family members of Maurice S. Gordon, a student at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, New York, told ABC News they have received little information about the killing on the Garden State Parkway in Bass River on Memorial Day weekend.
The shooting occurred just two days before African American George Floyd died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when a white officer was caught on viral cellphone video digging his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as the 47-year-old man repeatedly pleaded “I can’t breathe.” The Floyd killing has set off days of protests and riots across the country.
“Our team of independent investigators has been working hard to complete the initial investigation into the shooting death of Maurice Gordon as quickly as possible. That initial investigation is now complete, and we are in a position to publicly release the audio and video recordings of the incident,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Singh Grewal said in a statement.
Gordon’s family has the opportunity to privately view the footage before it is released to the public, Grewal said.
In an interview with ABC News on Sunday night, Gordon’s mother, Racquell Barrett, who flew to the United States from Great Britain following her son’s death, and her attorney, William O. Wagstaff, said they have repeatedly asked state police officials for answers about the shooting but have received minimal information.
Wagstaff said the family has not been told the officer’s named nor have they been informed if Gordon died at the scene or if he was pronounced dead at a hospital.
He said authorities allowed him to watch the beginning of the video up until it showed Gordon being shot.
Wagstaff said Gordon, a chemistry student and an UberEats driver, was pulled over for speeding on May 23.
He said the officer who pulled Gordon over on the Garden State Parkway asked Gordon to drive to a different spot. He said Gordon, who had turned off his vehicle, could not restart it.
Wagstaff said Gordon got out of his car and was searched for weapons. None where found, he said.
The attorney said Gordon was allowed to sit in the back of the police cruiser for about 30 minutes but was never issued a traffic ticket or told he was under arrest. He said Gordon, who was not handcuffed, attempted to unbuckle his seat belt a couple of times but was told not to.
Wagstaff said Gordon eventually unbuckled his seat belt and attempted to get out of the cruiser. That’s when the episode escalated and the trooper allegedly used physical force on Gordon before shooting him, he said.
He said Gordon was handcuffed after being shot.
The New Jersey State Police have declined to comment on the incident.
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