VINELAND, N.J. (CBS) — Family members are demanding answers after a police officer shoots a man during a weekend incident in Vineland that was all caught on camera. The Vineland officer who fatally shot 37-year-old Rashaun Washington has been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the shooting that shows a Vineland officer pulling the trigger and shooting a black man three times on Saturday morning.
Witnesses say police officers let a K-9 dog bite the man several times as he bled out and eventually died. According to a half-dozen witnesses, the man was clearly unarmed.
Washington’s family is begging the prosecutor’s office to do a thorough investigation.
“Please do not push this case to the side, being as though it was an officer, and let it go. We need justification for Rashaun,” said Dawn Fisher, who is Washington’s cousin.
Fisher and other family members add the video of the shooting shows that officers could have used less deadly force to subdue Washington who was pacing outside of a home.
“Y’all could’ve shot him in the leg and took him down in handcuffs,” said Washington’s mother, Georgette Washington.
According to the family, Rashaun Washington was wanted for an outstanding warrant in Camden County. However, court documents show the warrants appear to be for non-violent offenses.
The family is hoping the prosecutor’s office and the public do not use that to justify the deadly shooting.
“I don’t want them to try and justify this by defaming his character, because my brother was a very good person. Everybody makes mistakes,” said Tiffany Harris, Washington’s sister.
There has been at least one march and protest at the Vineland Police Department since the incident and the family is planning another one Thursday.
“We are going up there in Vineland and going to march on Thursday at 7 o’clock. Anybody that can come out and support us, please come out. We need justice for my brother, please. It is not right with these police are doing to us. It’s not right,” Harris said as she cried on her mother’s shoulder.
Family and friends gathered for a vigil to remember Washington on Monday night.
“That was a very unnecessary killing. It wasn’t justified,” said Washington’s uncle, Cornelius Williams.
We love my nephew. He was a family man,” another family member said.
Washington leaves behind a son and daughter. His girlfriend, Lahtefa Key, was also distraught to hear of the news.
“We was together all the time for the last couple of months. I don’t understand how this could happen. How could anybody treat a human being like this,” said Key.