State Names Paterson, NJ, Police Officers in Fatal Shooting of Anti-violence Activist
PATERSON — State authorities have released the names of the cops who shot violence intervention activist Najee Seabrooks after a standoff lasting nearly five hours last week.
Seabrooks, 31, was shot and killed in his apartment by Paterson cops on Friday, according to the Attorney General's Office.
Earlier that morning, officers had responded to the building on Mill Street around 7:45 AM for a call of an individual in distress. Seabrooks had barricaded himself in the apartment's bathroom.
Authorities say that an hour after arriving at the scene, three cops used "less lethal force" in an attempt to subdue Seabrooks. But the standoff continued until two cops from the police department's Emergency Response Team entered around 12:30 p.m.
At 12:35 PM., Officers Anzore Tsay and Jose Hernandez both fired their weapons and hit Seabrooks, according to the OAG. He was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead at 12:51 PM.
Authorities did not disclose the circumstances of the shooting and said the investigation is ongoing.
"High-ranking sources" reportedly told NorthJersey.com that Seabrooks was wielding two knives and moved toward the officers before the shooting.
Earlier in the day, Seabrooks had broken water pipes and started a small fire in the room, according to the report. After the city fire department doused the blaze, the water from the pipes and hoses mixed with spilled alcohol. The combination prevented officers from safely deploying stun guns.
But members of the Paterson Healing Collective claim that they could have prevented the shooting if police had allowed them to speak with Seabrooks. The violence intervention group that helps at-risk youth, to which Seabrooks belonged, held a vigil outside their offices on Tuesday night, NorthJersey.com reported.
“The police refused to let us help our brother in arms,” PHC member Liza Chowdhury said. "We demand justice."
More than 250 protestors later gathered around police headquarters and knocked down a metal barricade. Cops readied their riot gear, but tensions subsided without any physical confrontations.
The next day, Mayor Andre Sayegh on social media called for an immediate release of police body-worn camera footage of the shooting.
"We want the truth and that's why I am asking for the immediate release of the body camera footage of this tragic incident," Sayegh said Wednesday.