Haddon Twp. Police-Involved Shooting ‘Legally Justified’ After Prosecutor’s Review

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The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and New Jersey Attorney General reviewed the October 2016 incident and determined the officer involved will not face criminal charges.

By Matt Skoufalos | March 24, 2017

The scene of an apparent police-involved shooting on Route 130. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

A Haddon Township police officer who shot a Camden City man while fighting with him after a traffic stop will not face criminal charges, authorities announced.

After a legal review from the offices of the Camden County Prosecutor (CCPO) and New Jersey Attorney General, the officer’s use of force was ruled justified, according to a CCPO statement today.

The CCPO said its investigation considered statements from the officer, the shooting victim, two EMTs and a third, independent witness, dashcam footage from the patrol car, and physical evidence gathered at the scene.

“Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo determined that the Officer acted in accordance with the Attorney General’s Use of Force Guidelines in using deadly force to prevent serious injury or death,” the statement said.

In November 2016, 38-year-old Edmond Brown, Jr. was charged in the incident, which took place on Alabama Road just outside the Independence Village apartment complex in Camden City.

Police said Brown, Jr. was pulled over around 9:40 a.m. October 29 at the intersection of Routes 130 and 168. He allegedly attempted to flee after having provided false documents, and then fought with the officer after crashing his car into a parked vehicle. Brown, Jr. was shot once in the leg, and was treated and discharged that day at Cooper Medical Center.

Across the street, Brennan Robinson, 20, said he heard the collision and saw the confrontation from his home.

“The cop was pointing a gun at him, saying, ‘Get down!'” Robinson said. “They were tussling.”

Robinson didn’t see what happened next, but said he heard shots fired. Not long after, he said, an ambulance appeared on the scene, and the man was evacuated.

A vehicle crash at the Independence Village Apartments in Camden. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

A vehicle crash at the Independence Village Apartments in Camden. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

Initially, Brown, Jr. was charged with fourth-degree hindering apprehension, fourth-degree assault by auto, third-degree aggravated assault, second-degree eluding apprehension, plus the outstanding warrant that allegedly led police to pull him over.

He was remanded to the Camden County Jail on $50,000, full-cash bail.

Later, a search of Brown, Jr.’s vehicle uncovered a fully loaded Smith and Wesson .357 magnum revolver, extra ammunition, a couple of knives, and his actual identification.

Subsequently, he was also charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon by certain persons not to have a weapon, with bail set at $100,000, cash or bond for those charges.

A public records request from The Philadelphia Inquirer led to the release of dashcam footage of the incident:

On Friday, the CCPO investigation described Brown, Jr. as having tried to drive away when he was ordered to turn the vehicle off:

The Officer then jumped into the driver’s side window and grabbed for the gear shifter. Mr. Brown tried to push him away and accelerated. The vehicle travelled with the Officer hanging off of the window, turned left and struck a parked vehicle on the other side of the street. Just before the crash, the Officer was able to jump off the side of Mr. Brown’s truck.

After the collision, the Haddon Township Officer drew his weapon and called for backup. Mr. Brown was then ordered to exit the vehicle, show his hands, and get down on his knees. Mr. Brown exited the vehicle, got down on the ground for a moment, and then stood back up near the bed of the truck. A red vehicle, driven by an independent witness, drove through the scene, and stopped next to the police officer’s vehicle. The Officer attempted to get him to the ground when Mr. Brown began to fight with him and run in the direction of the patrol car.

The Officer was able to catch him a short distance away with his gun still unholstered. Mr. Brown continued to struggle with the Officer. During the struggle, the Officer believed that Mr. Brown was trying to get hold of his gun. The Officer discharged his weapon in order to end the attack.

The CCPO reports that the officer’s account of the struggle was corroborated by the EMTs and a third witness, and also notes that Brown, Jr. allegedly “told the EMTs he suffered from medical conditions, did not want their help and wanted to die.” He is currently in police custody awaiting trial.

All persons charged with criminal offenses are innocent unless and until convicted in a court of law.

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