By: Yuritza Arroyo
Atlantic County authorities announced today that a state grand jury voted not to file criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding a June 18, 2021, fatal encounter in Atlantic City involving a police vehicle and a cyclist.
According to Atlantic City officials, the cyclist, Everett Stern, 63, of Atlantic City, was critically injured and died in the hospital one week later.
Officials say the fatal police encounter was investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to New Jersey residents called to serve on the grand jury in accordance with Directive 2019-4, the “Independent Prosecutor Directive,” issued in 2019.
The investigation of this officer-involved fatality included interviews of witnesses, forensic evidence collection, a review of video footage, and autopsy results from the medical examiner.
After hearing testimony and evidence from the investigation, the grand jury concluded its deliberations on Monday, December 19, and voted “no bill,” meaning the grand jury concluded no criminal charges should be filed against the officer involved.
According to the investigation, Officer Ahmed Waqar was responding to a routine call for service in a marked patrol vehicle with no lights or siren activated when the accident occurred at approximately 8:30 p.m. on June 18, 2021, at the intersection of Arkansas Avenue and Arctic Avenue.
The investigation states, officer Waqar was traveling through a green light northbound on Arkansas Avenue, and Mr. Stern was traveling eastbound on Arctic Avenue when his bicycle collided with the driver's side of the police vehicle.
The officer immediately called for emergency medical personnel and rendered aid to Mr. Stern.
Mr. Stern was taken by ambulance to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, where he died on June 25, 2021.
After considering evidence, testimony from the OPIA investigation, and instructions on the legal standards, including whether the officer’s actions caused Mr. Stern’s death, the state grand jury determined no criminal charges should be brought against the officer.
A conflicts check was conducted pursuant to the Independent Prosecutor Directive and no actual or potential conflict of interest was found involving any individual assigned to the investigation.