STATE OF NEW JERSEY — According to a complaint filed by the man’s wife, her husband was slain by police last year because officers did not follow state requirements before firing their weapons.
On May 24, 2022, Officer Omar Polanco, a police officer from Jersey City, shot and killed Joseph Robertson in the head. The state’s attorney general has since confirmed Polanco as the shooter. A firearm was found at the site, and authorities say a Polanco told them Robertson had it.
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Natasha Robertson, the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed on her behalf on Tuesday, was shot three times but survived, according to the complaint.
In addition, the document states that the OAG’s published body camera footage does not prove that her 59-year-old husband was holding the gun when Polanco fired.
Robertson is suing for damages after the gunshot that killed her husband and left her injured.
State law enforcement was responding to a woman’s 911 call just before midnight, according to the state’s attorney general’s office. A distraught woman can be heard on the released call saying that a man matching Robertson’s description was pursuing her while brandishing a gun.
A man in a grey sweatsuit, later identified as Robertson, can be seen following a woman in a black t-shirt on surveillance footage from a BP gas station at the intersection of Communipaw and West Side avenues.
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Robertson’s wife, also a female, can be seen running alongside him in the grainy footage, presumably to catch up with him.
Police from Jersey City see the Robertsons’ car as the woman in the black t-shirt exits the petrol station. Robertson can be seen taking his arm out of his sweatshirt pocket and putting a headlock on his wife as the police arrive.
Polanco had the gun out within seconds. There were two deaths among the Robertsons; both of them had been shot and had collapsed.
The complaint filed on Tuesday states that the video does not show Robertson with a firearm. The footage is too fuzzy to tell if he had a gun in his hand.
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While securing the scene, the police on camera could be heard discussing where they might have seen a gun.
Paul Clark, Roberston’s attorney, said in a statement that Polanco broke state regulation that mandates the use of deadly force only as a last resort.