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UPDATE: NJ AG Releases Video of Newark Fatal Police-Involved Shooting

By rlsmetro on
Newark

The Attorney General’s Office today released a recording from a security camera that captured a portion of a police encounter that occurred just after midnight on January 1, 2021, during which Detective Rod Simpkins of the Newark Police Department fired his service weapon at Carl Dorsey III, 39, of South Orange, N.J., fatally wounding him.

The footage released today is the only footage obtained by investigators to date capturing the fatal encounter and is posted online: Click here for recording. It is being released pursuant to policies established by the Attorney General’s office in 2019 that are designed to promote the fair, impartial and transparent investigation of fatal police encounters. Prior to today’s release, investigators met with Mr. Dorsey’s relatives to review both the video recording and aspects of the ongoing investigation with them.

According to the preliminary investigation, the shooting occurred shortly after midnight near Woodland Avenue and South 11th Street in Newark, N.J. Officers responded to the area on reports of gunfire. After Detective Simpkins got out of his car, there was brief physical contact between him and Mr. Dorsey and Detective Simpkins fired his 9mm service weapon one time, striking Mr. Dorsey. No firearm was recovered from Mr. Dorsey or his immediate area. Officers provided medical aid to Mr. Dorsey and he was transported by emergency medical personnel to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced deceased at approximately 1:37 a.m.

While the Newark Police Department employs body and dash cameras, there is no police video of the incident. The officers in this case, including Detective Simpkins, were in plain clothes and in unmarked vehicles, and were not equipped with body or dash cameras.  

The fatal incident remains under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and no further information is being released at this time. Anyone with additional information or video related to this matter is urged to contact 1-844-OPIA-TIP.

This investigation is being conducted pursuant to a state law enacted in January 2019 (P.L. 2019, c.1), which requires that the Attorney General’s Office conduct all investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. Separately, the Independent Prosecutor Directive, which was issued by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal in December 2019, outlines a 10-step process for conducting these investigations.

The Directive establishes clear procedures governing such investigations to ensure that they are conducted in a full, impartial and transparent manner.

Under both state law and the Directive, when the entire investigation is complete, the case will be presented to a grand jury, typically consisting of 16 to 23 citizens, to make the ultimate decision regarding whether criminal charges will be filed. At present due to the COVID-19 pandemic, regular grand juries are not sitting and hearing cases.