Body cameras show excessive force in New Jersey police shooting, lawyer claims

Michelle Charlesworth Image
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Lawyer: Body cams show excessive force in NJ police shooting
Michelle Charlesworth has more on the New Jersey police shooting.

ELIZABETH, New Jersey (WABC) -- Lawyers for a New Jersey man who was shot by police in December are calling for an investigation by the state attorney general after releasing body camera footage they say is evidence of officers using excessive force.

Police say 37-year-old Michael Bates was waving a gun in the air, and that's why they shot him in the stomach.

But his attorneys argue the video paints a different scene, saying Bates had nothing more than a cell phone.

The incident happened around 2 a.m. on December 22 at the intersection of Court and Third streets in Elizabeth, where four police officers had responded to an unrelated domestic violence call.

Two officers were upstairs at that call, while the other two were outside when they say Bates approached and threatened them.

"(The officers) hear a commotion outside, they run downstairs, they view Mr. Bates for maybe a second," civil rights attorney Abraham Rubert-Schewel said. "He is walking in the street, and they fire and they shoot. He does not have a gun. They do not give a warning. They do not ask to stop. They do not use any lesser version of force or warning, which they could have."

Rubert-Schewel also says Bates repeatedly said, "No gun, no gun."

"If I hit play here, you'll see that one second later, the officer looks back, pulls his gun out and shoots," he said. "His partner then shoots multiple times."

Bates was in the hospital for 10 days in custody. A judge subsequently released him after she saw the officers' body cam videos, saying what they claimed did not match up with the footage.

"If we didn't have this footage, he could be charged with something like attempted murder or something worse," Rubert-Schewel

Bates attorney said there are two charges against his client that he wants dropped, and he also wants the Attorney General's Office or the county Prosecutor's Office to investigate and convene a grand jury to look at the allegations of excessive force.

Lawyers for a New Jersey man who was shot by police in December are calling for an investigation


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