BASS RIVER, N.J. (CBS) — Video released Monday shows the tense moments before an unarmed black man was shot dead on the Garden State Parkway last month in an incident with New Jersey State Police.
The dashcam video from a New Jersey state trooper’s vehicle was released last Monday afternoon by the state Attorney General’s Office.
It shows 28-year-old Maurice Gordon, of New York, standing outside of his vehicle.
The AG’s Office says Gordon was speeding on the Garden State Parkway first by Exit 62 in Stafford, and then again just 15 minutes later in Bass River, Burlington County.
Reports show Gordon went to leave but he could not restart his vehicle. New Jersey State Police Sgt. Randall Wetzel allowed him to sit in his patrol car to wait for a tow truck.
After 21 minutes, authorities say Gordon got out of the trooper’s back seat. Wetzel allegedly offered Gordon a mask, which ended in a confrontation.
Authorities say Gordon attempted to enter the trooper’s driver’s seat twice. On the first attempt, Gordon was pepper-sprayed and on the second attempt, there was a physical altercation and Gordon was shot six times by Sgt. Wetzel.
Gordon died just before 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
The confrontation occurred in late May, two days before the death of George Floyd.
“The fact this incident happened around the time George Floyd was brutally murdered in Minneapolis, and it makes you wonder if the uprisings that happened around the country didn’t occur, would we even know about Maurice Gordon? Would there be even a rush to even release this bodycam footage or was it because of this wave of uprisings and protests that really kind of forced the AG to now put this out?” said Paterson Black Lives Matter organizer Zellie Imani.
“We in New Jersey, we’ve known about this case for a while now but it’s because of this lack of accountability and transparency by the AG’s Office that we couldn’t get any information from it so we really had our hands tied behind our back,” Imani said.
It’s been about two weeks since the incident.
“Any life lost is a loss to be mourned and grieved,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said. “Police have a responsibility to protect the people they serve.”
Gordon’s family is demanding an independent investigation.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office says a grand jury will decide whether or not the shooting was justified.
CBS3’s Matt Petrillo and Kimberly Davis contributed to this report.