Crime & Safety Local News

Second Sunday Shooting Reported. Easter Weekend Violence Leaves 6 Men Injured

PATERSON, NJ – A 21-year-old Paterson man is in critical but stable condition at Saint Joseph’s Regional Medical Center after being shot multiple times Sunday. The incident, that law enforcement officials said took place at approximately 9:37 p.m in the array of 18th Avenue, came just hours after a 22-year-old man was shot in the area of Park Avenue.

A total of four shootings, leaving six men injured, took place over the East weekend, including one where three men were struck at an incident in the area of Grand Street Saturday and one Friday that led to the arrest of Wayne A. Smith, 37, Paterson.

The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office asks anyone with additional information about any of these incidents to contact them on their tips line at 1-877-370-PCPO or or to contact the Paterson Police Ceasefire Unit at 973-321-1342.

Crime & Safety Local News

Clifton Police Car Goes Airborne During Chase, Knocks Down Signs, Pole In Garfield

The officer tried stopping a motorist on Ackermann Avenue near Route 21 for careless driving shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday, Detective Lt. Robert Bracken said.

He ended up pursuing the driver after the sedan sped off onto northbound Route 21, he said.

The chase continued on River Road to Outwater Lane, with the fleeing motorist turning off his lights and driving recklessly, the lieutenant said.

They crossed the railroad tracks near Plauderville Station next to Columbus Park when the police vehicle became airborne, Bracken said.

It overturned, knocking down a couple of signs and snapping a utility pole at Eberhard Lane, he said.

The officer was treated at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center and released, Bracken said.

Meanwhile, police continued to search for the sedan.

Crime & Safety Local News

Wayne Driver Was Drunk, High In Crash That Seriously Injured Paterson Motorist, Authorities Say

A 23-year-old Wayne man was both drunk and high when he ran a red light 16 months ago and crashed his sedan into another in Paterson, seriously injuring the other driver,  authorities charged.

A lengthy investigation led to Friday’s arrest of Ibrahim Sumrein on assault by auto and DWI charges, they said.

Sumrein was driving a 2012 Honda Accord that blew the light and collided with a 1994 Toyota Corolla driven by a 31-year-old Paterson resident on Dec. 21, 2019, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and Paterson Police Chief Ibrahim Baycora said in a joint announcement.

The victim was taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, where she was treated for serious injuries, responders said at the time.

Sumrein was “under the combined influence of alcohol and narcotics at the time of the crash,” Valdes and Baycora said Friday.

Prosecutor’s detectives charged Sumrein on a summons and released him pending a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Paterson, they said.

Crime & Safety Local News

Paterson Detectives Nab Ex-Con In Hail Of Gunfire That Wounded Teen, Damaged Cars, Building

Paterson detectives nabbed an ex-con who they said unloaded no fewer than 20 shots on a local street corner, wounding a city man, damaging vehicles and shattering a store window.

At 25, Michael Deas has spent most of his adult life behind bars, records show.

He spent five years in state prison before being released this past November for a pair of Passaic County armed robberies in 2013 and 2014.

Paterson detectives arrested Deas on Friday for last Sunday’s shooting at the corner of Straight and Essex streets.

A wounded 19-year-old victim arrived at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center via private vehicle soon after. He was treated and survived his injuries, authorities said.

Police later reported recovering 18 shell casings and two live rounds from the scene.

One of the bullets smashed through the window of a medical insurance company. Three parked vehicles also were struck.

Dean remained held in the Passaic County Jail pending a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Paterson on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and various weapons counts, including being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Crime & Safety U. S. News

Kentucky Man Arrested for Assaulting a U.S. Capitol Police Officer in Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, April 20th, the District of Columbia unsealed a criminal complaint against Stephen Chase Randolph, 31, of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, for assaulting a U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officer and engaging in disorderly conduct.

Randolph was arrested pursuant to a complaint and made his initial appearance in court on April 20, 2021 in the Western District of Kentucky. The complaint charges Randolph with assaulting, resisting or impeding an officer causing bodily injury; obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder; and obstruction of justice and Congress.

According to court documents, Randolph was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 where he was captured on video pushing into and pulling barricades from officers. As depicted in the video, Johnson became confrontational with USCP officers as he approached a barricade blocking access to Pennsylvania walkway. He can be seen forcibly pushing and pulling on the metal barricades, causing a USCP officer to fall and hit her head on the stairs before losing consciousness. He continued to assault two other USCP officers by physically pushing, shoving, grabbing and generally resisting the officers. In conversation with undercover agents, Randolph stated, “It was f****** fun,” referring to being in the crowd at the U.S. Capitol.

In the same conversation with agents acting in an undercover capacity, Randolph said he witnessed a female police officer get pushed over by barricades and that her head had bounced off the handrails by the stairs. Randolph opined that the police officer likely had a concussion because she was curled up in the fetal position after being pushed to the ground.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case, with valuable assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, along with the U.S. Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department, who listed Johnson as #168 on their seeking information photos. Significant assistance in this matter was provided by the FBI-Louisville Field Office.

Crime & Safety Local News

Feds: Imprisoned Paterson Dealer Admits Selling Heroin That Killed User From Warwick, NY

A twice-imprisoned drug dealer from Paterson admitted he sold the heroin that killed a user from Orange County, NY.

Shameik “Homeboy” Byrd, 31, who’s currently serving a state prison sentence, told a federal judge via videoconference in Newark that the death of 25-year-old Kean Cabral of Warwick was caused by heroin from the batch of “Trap Queen” that he’d been selling.

State authorities tried to prosecute Byrd and a couple who they said bought the drugs from him and sold some to Cabral in April 2016.

They were over-ruled, however, by the New Jersey Supreme Court, which said they didn’t have jurisdiction to prosecute someone for a drug-induced death that occurred in another state.

Federal authorities can. So they took the case.

It all began when Cabral was found dead of an overdose at his Warwick home the morning of April 3, 2016.

Three days later, detectives from the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office – alerted by Warwick police — set up surveillance in Paterson on April 6, 2019.

The investigators stopped Anthony Potts and his girlfriend, Noel Ferguson, after seeing them buy heroin on East 34th Street, authorities said at the time.

Ferguson turned over 50 or so folds of the “Trap Queen” they’d bought, authorities said.

Investigators found that Potts and Ferguson had previously sold several folds of the same heroin to Cabral after getting it from Byrd in Paterson, they said.

Byrd previously served 4 ½ years in state prison for robbery, drug dealing and resisting arrest before being released in October 2014, records show.

He was back behind bars less than two years later and has been imprisoned since September 2016 following convictions for drug dealing and leading police on a dangerous pursuit, among other offenses.

Byrd is scheduled to be released from the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Wrightstown this August, records show. He’s then expected to go into federal custody.

Rather than face a federal trial, Byrd pleaded guilty Thursday to possessing and distributing the heroin that led to Cabral’s death, Acting U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Rachael A. Honig said.

U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo scheduled sentencing for Sept. 14.

Honig credited special agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as detectives from the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice’s Gangs and Organized Crime Bureau Passaic County Sheriff’s Office and Warwick Police Department with the investigation leading to the guilty plea secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan L. O’Neill of her Health Care Fraud Unit.

Crime & Safety Local News

Paterson Man, 21, Shot On City Street Corner

A 21-year-old shooting victim ducked into a Paterson grocery store and called police after being shot on Friday, authorities said.

The victim, a city resident, was taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center with a bullet wound in his ankle after responding officers found him in the store at the corner of 10th Avenue and East 28th Street shortly before 5 p.m.

He’d apparently been shot a block or so away, responders said.

Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and Paterson Police Chief Ibrahim Baycora didn’t say whether the shooter had been caught or identified.

Crime & Safety U. S. News

Police kill Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, who attacked 2 with knife

COLUMBUS, Ohio  — Body camera footage from other officers released Wednesday in the fatal police shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, a Black teenager who charged at two people with a knife, showed a chaotic scene that happened within minutes of the verdict in George Floyd’s killing and ignited outrage by many over the continued use of lethal force by police in Columbus and the U.S.

Officials with the Columbus Division of Police had released initial footage of the shooting Tuesday night just hours after it happened, which was a departure from protocol as the force faces immense scrutiny from the public following a series of recent high-profile police killings that have led to clashes.

Bryant was 16 and in foster care with Franklin County Children’s Services at the time of her death. Her grandmother, Debra Wilcox, described her as a shy and quiet girl, who liked making hair and dance videos on TikTok.

“The fact that I see what I saw on that video is not how I know my Ma’Khia,” Wilcox told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “I don’t know what happened there unless she was fearful for her life.”

The incident has caused an outcry in the community and nationwide as Bryant’s killing is the second high-profile fatal shooting of a teenager by police in the last month. Body camera footage released last week showed an officer shoot and kill 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago.

“It’s a tragedy. There’s no other way to say it. It’s a 16-year-old. I’m a father,” Interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods told reporters Wednesday. “Her family is grieving. Regardless of the circumstances associated with this, a 16-year-old lost her life yesterday.”

He added, “I sure as hell wish it wouldn’t have happened.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the Columbus shooting “tragic” and said President Joe Biden has been briefed on it.

“She was a child. We’re thinking of her friends and family and the communities that are hurting and grieving her loss,” Psaki said in a statement.

The 10-second body camera clip begins with the officer, identified Wednesday as Nicholas Reardon, getting out of his car at a house where police had been dispatched after someone had called 911 saying they were being physically threatened, Woods said. It remains unclear who called the police.

The officer, who was hired by the force in December 2019, is seen taking a few steps toward a group of people in the driveway when Bryant starts swinging a knife wildly at another girl or woman, who falls backward. The officer shouts several times to get down.

Bryant then charges at another girl or woman, who is pinned against a car.

From a few feet away, with people on either side of him, the officer fires four shots, and Bryant slumps to the ground. A black-handled blade similar to a kitchen knife or steak knife lies on the sidewalk next to her.

A man immediately yells at the officer, “You didn’t have to shoot her! She’s just a kid, man!”

The officer responds, “She had a knife. She just went at her.”

The race of the officer wasn’t clear and he was taken off patrolling the streets for the time being.

Bryant was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said. Police did not say if anyone else was injured.

In the moments after the shooting, people living or visiting the street filmed as police roped off the area with yellow tape in front of the house where the shooting took place.

A neighbor’s video shows an officer performing CPR on the teenager while a man can be heard yelling, “You all just jumped out of the (expletive) car and shot her!”

Neighbors stood in open doorways filming and behind cars shaking their heads, eyewitness footage showed.

Woods said state law allows police to use deadly force to protect themselves or others, and investigators will determine whether this shooting was such an instance.

Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation is now reviewing the killing following a recent agreement with the city.

The shooting happened about 25 minutes before a judge read the verdict convicting former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter in the killing of Floyd. It also took place less than 5 miles from where the funeral for Andre Hill, who was killed by another Columbus police officer in December, was held earlier this year. The officer in Hill’s case, Adam Coy, a 19-year veteran of the force, is now facing trial for murder, with the next hearing scheduled for April 28.

Less than three weeks before Hill was killed, a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy fatally shot 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr. in Columbus. The case remains under federal investigation.

Last week, Columbus police shot and killed a man who was in a hospital emergency room with a gun on him. Officials are continuing an investigation into that shooting.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Wednesday that he watched the footage of Bryant’s killing and called it a “horrible tragedy.”

He added that while the public has the video evidence, “we need to let the investigation play out.”

The Republican governor also detailed upcoming legislation to boost police accountability in the state and overhaul policing. The effort was initially introduced in another form with Attorney General Yost in the days after Floyd’s killing last summer.

The new bill, to be introduced by GOP State Rep. Phil Plummer, of Dayton, would, among other things, establish an oversight board for law enforcement in the state. DeWine said the goal of the legislation is to increase transparency in the profession.

Crime & Safety Local News

Authorities: Passaic Man Sexually Assaulted Pre-Teen

A Passaic man sexually assaulted a pre-teen at least twice over the past few months, authorities charged.

Quirino Rojas, 37, remained held Monday in the Passaic County Jail on two counts each of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and child endangerment.

Special Victims Unit detectives interviewed the youngster after city police were called on Saturday, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and Passaic Police Chief Louis A. Guzman said in a joint announcement Monday.

“The victim reported being sexually abused by [Rojas] on multiple occasions between the ages of 12 and 13 years old at a residence in Passaic between January and April of 2021,” their release says.

Assistant Passaic County Prosecutor Alyssa DiSturco will ask a judge during a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Paterson to order that Rojas remain held pending trial, they said.

Authorities warn parents that those who rape, molest or otherwise sexually assault young children are often known to the family — and at times exhibit warning signs that such behavior is possible.

They urge parents or guardians to never leave their youngsters with any adult in whom they don’t have 100% trust and confidence.

They also remind loved ones to always remain attentive to indications from their children of discomfort with a particular adult — or signs that they may have been abused.

If you suspect that anyone has harmed your child, contact authorities immediately.

Crime & Safety U. S. News

Teen’s death puts focus on split-second police decisions

It happened in less than a second.

Thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo dropped the gun he’d been holding, turned and began raising his hands just as the officer had commanded. Then the cop fired a single shot, killing the boy in the dark Chicago alley.

The graphic video that became the latest tragic touchstone in the nation’s reckoning with race and policing puts a microscope on those split-second decisions with far-reaching and grave consequences. Investigators are still sorting through exactly what happened, but the shooting has raised difficult questions about why the boy wasn’t given more time to comply and whether the deadly encounter could have been prevented in the first place.

“Time and again, our communities of color are being told that these are isolated incidents or that they are the fault of the suspect. What do you say when you see the evidence with your own eyes?” Jose Lopez, the League of United Latin American Citizens’ national vice president for the Midwest, said in a statement.

The white officer, Eric Stillman, was responding to reports of shots fired in Little Village, a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of the city’s southwest side, around 3 a.m. on March 29. Stillman’s jumpy, nighttime bodycam footage shows him chasing Toledo, who was Latino, on foot down an alley for several seconds and yelling: “Police! Stop! Stop right (expletive) now!”

As the teen slows down, Stillman yells: “Hands! Hands! Show me your (expletive) hands!” Toledo then turns toward the camera, Stillman yells, “Drop it!” and midway between repeating that command, he fires and Toledo falls. Police found a gun next to a fence a short distance away after the shooting. Prosecutors have previously said a 21-year-old man with Toledo fired the rounds that originally drew the officer’s attention.

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office will decide whether Stillman, who has been placed on administrative leave for 30 days, should face charges. But it’s been rare to charge police with crimes in the death of civilians, and winning a conviction is harder in part because jurors are reluctant to second-guess an officer when the officer has been faced with a split-second decision in a life-or-death situation.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said an officer’s fear for their life in the heat of the moment matters, even if in hindsight it turns out they weren’t in danger. Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote in a 1989 ruling that shaped the legal landscape that the “calculus must embody an allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation.”

It takes the brain about three-fourths of a second to react to a perceived threat, said Chris Burbank, a former police chief in Salt Lake City who is now with the Center for Policing Equity. Most police can then draw a gun and fire two accurate rounds in 1.5 seconds, so the pivotal portion of a confrontation can be over in less than three seconds.

The decisions made in that tiny period can influenced by a host of factors, including training, immediate surroundings and structural biases like racism, he said. A growing body of research shows Black teenagers, for example, are often wrongly perceived as older and more threatening than white teenagers.

And it can be hard for officers to say after the fact exactly what made them shoot, said Eugene O’Donnell, a former New York City police officer and longtime professor of police studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“It’s always a shock to actually have to fire because firing is pretty rare in a big city,” he said. “You talk to cops after shootings, a lot of it is a blur … the truth is that you may not even know why you fired.”

The often-used “show me your hands!” command can unintentionally accelerate a confrontation. The motions of a person trying to obey can appear at first like the moves someone makes to start an attack, said Von Kliem, a former police officer and director of consulting division for the Force Science Institute. Some in law enforcement-training circles have had concerns about how the phrase affects a situation since the mid-1990s, though it’s still often used without causing serious problems.

But focusing solely on split-second heated moments can miss the larger systemic questions raised by a community mourning a child, said Nathan Morris, an attorney for a 13-year-old shot by police in Utah. That boy, Linden Cameron, has autism and his mother had called police to help handle a breakdown last year. Cameron was unarmed. He survived the shots that were fired after a chase by officers.

“Are we doing the right thing by putting our officers in situations that require a split-second decision?” Morris said. “Should they even be chasing a 13-year-old child down?”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is now demanding a new policy on foot pursuits, something she called one of the most dangerous actions an officer can take. Some major cities have already taken action to limit foot chases, though experts say it would be hard to tell police not to try to stop someone with a gun.

Some shifts in police training could help, Burbank said. He spent years training police officers and being trained himself, and says nearly every law enforcement practice scenario ended with a shooting.

“There have to be ‘no shoot’ scenarios,” he said. “We need to spend more time training for when you don’t have to use force than when you do. And we do not do that.”