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No Criminal Charges for Officer Involved in Fatal Shooting in Jersey City

Jersey City


A state grand jury has voted not to file any criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding the death of Joseph Robertson, 59, of Jersey City, who was fatally shot by a Jersey City police officer on May 24, 2022.

According to officials, Mr. Robertson’s death was investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to New Jersey residents serving on the state grand jury in accordance with the Independent Prosecutor Directive of 2019 (the “Directive”).

Officials say in July 2021, OPIA issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure these grand jury presentations are conducted in a neutral, objective manner, with appropriate transparency regarding the process, consistent with the Directive.

The investigation included witness interviews, photographs, medical records, review of video footage, as well as autopsy results from the medical examiner.

This evidence, including video of the incident, was presented to a state grand jury.

According to authorities, after hearing the testimony and evidence, the grand jury concluded its deliberations on Monday, October 2, 2023, and voted “no bill,” meaning no criminal charges should be filed against Officer Omar Polanco of the Jersey City Police Department.

According to the investigation, uniformed officers of the Jersey City Police Department responded to a 911 call made shortly after 11:56 p.m., reporting a domestic dispute involving a man with a gun near the intersection of Communipaw Avenue and West Side Avenue in Jersey City.

Authorities say when officers arrived, they encountered Mr. Robertson and a woman near the BP gas station. Mr. Robertson pointed a firearm at the woman.

Officer Polanco ordered him to drop the weapon. Mr. Robertson did not comply, but instead pulled the woman closer to him and placed her in a headlock with the firearm pointed at her. Mr. Robertson fired his weapon one time, striking the woman in the chest.

In response Officer Polanco fired his weapon twice, and both shots struck Mr. Robertson, fatally wounding him.The police recovered Mr. Robinson’s firearm at the scene. 

Officers and emergency medical personnel rendered first aid to Mr. Robertson, and he was pronounced deceased at the scene at 12:19 a.m. The woman was also provided with medical attention and sustained a non-fatal injury. 

Video footage and a 911 call capturing the events surrounding the shooting were previously released.

Those recordings are available here:  .