By Bradford Mason

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is investigating the New Year’s Day fatal police shooting of Black, 39-year-old South Orange resident Carl Dorsey III by the Newark Police Department.

This week, Grewal’s office identified the officer who fired his weapon at Dorsey as Detective Rod Simpkins.

According to the preliminary investigation, the shooting occurred shortly after midnight near Woodland Avenue and South 11th Street in Newark. Officers on patrol responded to the area. During the incident, Detective Simpkins fired his 9mm service weapon, striking Dorsey. Officers provided medical aid.

Dorsey was transported by emergency medical personnel to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead. Police say two firearms were recovered on the scene.

The investigation is being conducted pursuant to a law enacted in January 2019, which requires that the Attorney General’s Office conduct investigations of death that occur during encounters with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the person killed is in custody. The investigation is ongoing.

Dorsey’s killing has raised major questions. Reports indicate that witnesses say Dorsey had his hands up and was complying with officers during the incident. They also say Dorsey was backing away from officers before he was shot.

Activists are calling for the officer involved to be charged. On Jan. 6 the Newark AntiViolence Coalition held a vigil and rally for Dorsey at Woodland Avenue and South 11th Street.

“Other people are gonna say ‘Well, we’re going to make an impartial investigation,” People’s Organization for Progress (P.O.P.) Chairman Lawrence Hamm said in a published interview. “Y’know what the end of that impartial investigation is gonna be? No police are gonna go to jail because there are two systems of justice in this country: one system of justice for us and there’s another system of justice for the police.”

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