Today, the Attorney General’s Office released video footage and a 911 call related to a fatal police-involved shooting that occurred on May 24 in Jersey City.
The decedent has been identified as Joseph Robertson, 59, of Jersey City.
The officer who fired his service weapon at Mr. Robertson has been identified as Officer Omar Polanco of the Jersey City Police Department.
The fatal shooting remains under investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA).
The recordings are being released according to policies established by the Attorney General’s Office in 2019 designed to promote the fair, impartial, and transparent investigation of fatal police encounters. Investigators met today with Mr. Robertson’s family to review the recordings.
According to the preliminary investigation, uniformed Jersey City Police Department officers 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.
When officers arrived, they encountered a man, Mr. Robertson, and a woman near the BP gas station. Mr. Robertson pulled the woman closer to him and placed the woman in a “headlock.”
Mr. Robertson pointed what appeared to be a firearm at the woman. At this time, Officer Polanco fired his weapon, fatally wounding Mr. Robertson.
Officers and emergency medical personnel rendered first aid to Mr. Robertson, and he was pronounced deceased at the scene at 12:19 a.m. A firearm was recovered near Mr. Robertson.
The recordings are posted online: Click here for recordings.
The investigation is ongoing, and no further information is being released at this time.
This investigation is being conducted pursuant to a state law enacted in January 2019, 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 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.