Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo has determined that the use of force was legally justified in a shooting that involved a Haddon Township Police Department Officer. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Division of Criminal Justice, reviewed the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office’s investigation and agreed with the conclusion that this use of force was legally justified. As a result, no criminal charges will be filed against the Haddon Township Police Officer.
Edmond Brown Jr. was shot by a Haddon Township police officer who had pulled him over for a routine traffic stop on the morning of October 29, 2016. The entire incident was recorded on the Officer’s patrol vehicle dash camera. The dash camera recording was released to the public on November 10, 2016 in response to an Open Public Records Act request.
The driver of a Ford F-150, later identified as Edmond Brown Jr., was signaled by the Officer to pull over on Route 130. After initially failing to stop, Mr. Brown cut across two lanes of travel, drove over a small median, and continued into the left turn lane coming to a stop at a red light behind other vehicles. While at the stop light, the Haddon Township Officer exited his vehicle to tell him to pull over, to which Mr. Brown complied. The Officer returned to his patrol vehicle and followed Mr. Brown, who turned left onto Alabama Road in Camden, New Jersey.
The Officer positioned his car behind the pickup truck, got out and approached the driver’s side to obtain Mr. Brown’s information. Mr. Brown stated that he did not have his license, so he gave the Officer his name and a birthdate to run instead. The Officer explained why he pulled Mr. Brown over, then he returned to his patrol vehicle. The Officer requested a lookup of Mr. Brown’s name, which Mr. Brown told him was “Al Hakeem Reid.”
The Officer again left his patrol car, proceeded to the driver’s side of the pickup truck while Mr. Brown held a piece of paper out the window. The Officer approached, looked over the paperwork and informed Mr. Brown that it was expired. The two have another conversation and the Officer returned to his vehicle. While waiting for confirmation of a valid driver’s license, dispatch reported that there was no “Al Hakeem Reid” with the birthdate given on record.
The Officer stepped out of his vehicle for a third time and proceeded to the driver’s side of the pickup truck. Again they discussed Brown not having valid insurance, and that the information on “Al Hakeem Reid” was not on record. The Officer again requested a further lookup on Mr. Brown’s information. The information could not be confirmed.
The Officer then told Mr. Brown to turn off his vehicle. Mr. Brown, however, immediately grabbed the gear shifter in an attempt to put the car into drive. 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 discharged round entered Mr. Brown’s right thigh. After the single shot was fired, Mr. Brown continued to fight with the Officer who was unaware he had shot him. When able to do so, the Officer holstered his weapon. They continued to grapple and fell against the driver’s side door of the red colored vehicle, operated by the independent witness. The Officer was able to gain control and handcuffed Mr. Brown.
The independent witness driving the red vehicle as well as two Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) on scene witnessed the struggle and corroborated what occurred during the incident. Mr. Brown was treated while at the scene before being transported to the hospital by the EMTs. Mr. Brown told the EMTs he suffered from medical conditions, did not want their help and wanted to die. He was transported to Cooper Hospital where he was treated and released the same day.
After his arrest, Detectives from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office executed a search warrant on the vehicle operated by Edmond Brown, Jr. They found a black bag containing a loaded Smith & Wesson, .357 Magnum revolver, along with Mr. Brown’s real New Jersey Driver’s license, credit cards and other forms of identification belonging to “Edmond Brown, Jr.” The bag and its contents were recovered from the rear driver’s seat floor. Additionally, a red folding knife, and a wooden handle steak-type knife were located and seized from within the front center console of the vehicle.
Edmond Brown, Jr. has been charged with one count of second-degree Eluding, one count of fourth-degree Aggravated Assault, one count of fourth-degree Assault by Auto, one count of third-degree Hindering Apprehension, one count of second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon as well as one count second-degree Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons.
Based on the findings of the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office investigation, which includes the officer’s account, statements from independent witnesses, the patrol car’s dash camera video and physical evidence, 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.
During the course of the investigation the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office complied with all portions of the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Directive regarding uniform statewide procedures and best practices for conducting police use-of-force investigations.
Released Friday, March 24, 2017.