The victim had no gun and was running because he was scared to get shot… unfortunately the bullet holes in his back proved him right.
Patterson, NJ — On the night he opened fire on Khalif Cooper, moments before pulling the trigger, Officer Jerry Moravek claimed the unarmed man had a gun. Even after he shot Cooper multiple times in the back, Moravek maintained that Cooper was armed. But this wasn’t true.
The shooting unfolded in June 2022 and this week, Moravek was charged with aggravated assault because body camera video showed his victim had no such gun when the officer tried to kill him.
“The body worn camera footage does not depict the victim brandishing any firearm or pointing a firearm at the defendant, other officers or any member of the public,” a statement from Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin’s office said. “No gun was found in the victim’s possession nor within his reach.”
Cooper is now paralyzed and is pursuing a lawsuit against the city.
According to state law, an officer is only allowed to fire on a fleeing suspect if their escape would cause an “imminent threat” to an officer or bystander. As the video shows, however, Cooper was not a threat and Moravek never even told him to stop running.
“He was never warned that deadly force might be used,” the attorney general said. “Unfortunately, the fact remains that Moravek fired at an unarmed subject, running away, without giving proper warnings.”
Cooper — who was never charged with a crime — would tell investigators he ran that night because he “was scared.” Moravek had responded to reports of shots fired near a large crowd that night and people were running all over the place. Cooper happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I was scared,” Cooper said after Moravek shot him. “But I don’t got no gun, though.” And he did not.
“We have promised to never be complacent and we have made a commitment to stand up against unnecessary and excessive uses of force by those with a duty to protect the public, enforce the law and promote justice. There is no more significant action than the use of deadly force. Not only can it result in the unnecessary loss of life or permanent injuries and disabilities, but instances of uncalled-for, disproportional and destructive use of deadly force sow distrust in, and erodes respect for, law enforcement among the community,” said Platkin. “Law enforcement officers across the country put themselves at risk every day, and in New Jersey, they receive extensive training to be able to determine when a threat is genuine and how to resolve a situation without the use of deadly force. Every case deserves a thorough investigation and here we have determined that the use of deadly force was not justified. A young man’s life will never be the same because of the unnecessary action by this officer, which contradicted his police training and his oath to protect and preserve life.”
“Under the law discharging a firearm is meant to be a last resort, used by officers when they or the public face an imminent threat of death or serious injury. That just wasn’t the situation here,” said Thomas Eicher, Executive Director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, which investigated the case. “This lapse of judgment, this violation of the law and police procedures, has had a steep cost for the victim and it must have consequences.”
If Moravek is convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
Article posted with permission from Matt Agorist
Become an insider!
Sign up to get breaking alerts from Sons of Liberty Media.