By Bradford Mason
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal released a recording on Thursday from a security camera that captured a portion of the fatal Newark police shooting of Carl Dorsey III of South Orange.
The shooting occurred just after midnight on Jan. 1 when Detective Rod Simpkins of the Newark Police Department fired his service weapon at 39-year-old Dorsey.
The video is the only footage obtained by investigators to date capturing the fatal encounter and is posted online. It is being released pursuant to policies established by the Attorney General’s office in 2019 that are designed to promote the fair, impartial and transparent investigation of fatal police encounters.
Investigators met with Dorsey’s relatives to review both the video recording and aspects of the ongoing investigation with them.
According to the preliminary investigation, the shooting occurred shortly after midnight near Woodland Avenue and South 11th Street in Newark. Officers responded to the area on reports of gunfire. After Simpkins got out of his car, there was brief physical contact between him and Dorsey and Simpkins fired his 9mm service weapon one time, striking Dorsey.
No firearm was recovered from Dorsey or his immediate area. Officers provided medical aid to Dorsey and he was transported by emergency medical personnel to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead.
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.
While the Newark Police Department employs body and dash cameras, there is no police video of the incident. The officers in this case, including Simpkins, were in plain clothes and in unmarked vehicles, and were not equipped with body or dash cameras.
Simpkins is on administrative leave until the investigation ends.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said in a statement released Thursday that he reviewed that video and found it to be “tragic, disturbing, yet incomplete.” He’s also calling on the public to turn over any video from the shooting.
“We will be asking the Attorney General’s Office to turn over information to our consent decree unit to review if the use of force or any other policy was violated,” Baraka said. “We will also ask that all information be turned over to our Civilian Complaint Review Board to investigate and provide recommendations. Lastly, we will be requesting that our Public Safety Director look into expanding the use of body cameras to include plainclothes units as well.”
The shooting remains under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and no further information is being released at this time. The AG’s office is asking for anyone with additional information or video to contact 1-844-OPIA-TIP.