People who knew community activist Najee Seabrooks are looking at the hours of police body camera footage that has been made public by the New Jersey attorney general. Seabrooks was killed two weeks ago when police responded to what seemed to be a mental health crisis. The video is also being looked at by the police.
Supporters of Seabrooks said that the videos, which were taken with more than six cameras, show that the police didn’t handle their friend’s mental breakdown well.
After Najee Seabrooks’s death, the people of Paterson want answers from the police.
Liza Chowdhury is the head of the organization that runs Paterson Healing Collective, Reimagining Justice.
“He asked for our team, but they were outside,” Chowdhury said about what happened on March 3.
Before 8 a.m. on the day of the incident, Seabrooks had called 911. According to what the police say happened, he lunged at them with a knife at 12:35 p.m., which is when they shot and killed him.
During the more than four hours of video that was made public, there were times when officers responded with their guns drawn but did not shoot.
In the video, Seabrooks can be heard screaming and seen throwing a water bottle at officers. At one point, he tells them, “I’m slowly dying. Let me die.”
One of the officers who came to help said, “No. I’m here to help.”
About 3 minutes before the police shoot Seabrooks, he can be seen holding a knife. Police said that Seabrooks also said he had a gun that was ready to shoot.
From 7:58 a.m. until 12:35 p.m., when Seabrooks jumps out of the bathroom with the knife, the whole thing takes place. All of it is caught on video by the officers’ body cameras. Still, Chowdury, who has dealt with mentally ill people who have threatened harm in the past, said that her friend and mentee’s situation on March 3 was handled wrong.
“We literally showed the police text messages,” Chowdhury said of her response team, which was at the scene. “He wants to hear our voice,” we said.
In an interview on PIX on Politics on Friday, Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh talked about what happened.
Sayegh said, “It is a real tragedy.” “I want people to see for themselves what the body cams show.
Sayegh went on to say, “Every officer wears a body camera, so we know what’s going on and we can trust each other.”
Activists in Paterson have asked the federal Justice Department to start a formal investigation into what the Paterson Police Department is doing.
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