With a year gone since an unarmed black man was slain during a traffic stop in South Jersey, family members and activists planned a rally Monday night to demand federal intervention in the case.
Jerome Reid, 36, (also known as Jerame), died on Dec. 30, 2014, after being shot by a Bridgeton Police Department officer while pushing a car door open against a police officer who saw a gun in the car. The hectic encounter was caught on dashcam video (see below). A Cumberland County grand jury declined to charge either of the officers involved in August.
"My son was murdered," said Shelia Reid, Jerome's mother, on Monday while preparing to go to the rally. "I want them to face criminal charges."
Reid is hoping for federal intervention in the case, she said.
"The goal of tonight's rally is to memorialize Jerome," said Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the People's Organization for Progress. "It's to keep the pressure on, so to speak. Right now, that pressure is directed at the U.S. Attorney's Office."
Reid's mother, Hamm and other activists met with representatives from the U.S. Attorney of New Jersey to discuss the case in September and request a civil rights investigation.
William Skaggs, spokesman for U.S. Attorney of New Jersey Paul Fishman, confirmed that the meeting took place, but said he could not comment on whether the office is considering taking action in the case.
Officers Braheme Days and Roger Worley, who were involved in the Reid shooting, both remain on administrative leave until matters related to the shooting are resolved, said Bridgeton police chief Michael Gaimari Sr.
Gaimari declined to comment on what specific matters needs to be resolved, but said the department would not oppose further investigation into the incident.
"We welcome any investigation into it. We have nothing to hide," Gaimari said. "We have no problem with any agency investigating the facts around the incident. It's been decided upon by a grand jury. We support their decision. We support the officers. We obviously have sympathy for Mr. Reid in what happened. I don't think any police officer comes to work wanting something like that to occur."
Activist Walter Hudson, chairman of the South Jersey-based National Awareness Alliance, noted that Cumberland County prosecutors have not yet issued any grand jury decision related to the death of Phillip White, 32, who died in police custody in April.
Cell phone video showed a Vineland police officer let a K-9 bite White while he was lying prone on the street. Prosecutors said White died from a respiratory problem while being transported in a police van.
"Nothing is going to happen to them. It's business as usual," Hudson said of the officers in that case.
Vineland officers Louis Platania and Rich Janasiak were placed on administrative leave in April after that incident. A clerk who answered the phone at the Vineland Police Department police chief's office said she could not immediately confirm whether or not they were still on leave.
"The goal of the rally is to keep attention on what is going on in South Jersey, as it is going on around the nation -- police misconduct," Hudson said.
"We want police reform. We want federal intervention to come in and lead that, and also to launch a civil rights investigation into the deaths of Jerome Reid and Phillip White."
The Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office did not respond to requests for comment about the Reid or White cases.
Below, see video of the traffic stop involving Reid.
Caution: contains graphic violence.