Newark police officer indicted in fatal shooting freed while awaiting trial

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A Newark officer indicted in connection with a deadly police-involved shooting was freed by a judge Tuesday as he awaits trial on charges including aggravated manslaughter.

Video footage shows 26-year-old Officer Jovanny Crespo jumping out of a moving police cruiser on three separate occasions to fire on a fleeing car with two occupants.

It happened on January 28, when 35-year-old Andrew Dixon and 46-year-old Gregory Griffin were stopped by an officer in the area of Clinton Avenue and Thomas Street.

Griffin allegedly pulled away when an officer spotted a handgun in the vehicle, prosecutors say.

A number of police cars gave chase, with Crespo firing shots at three separate locations while running alongside the car.

Both men in the car were shot in the head, and Griffin died the next day. Dixon was seriously injured but survived.

Crespo, a father of four, is facing six counts, including aggravated manslaughter, aggravated assault and official misconduct.

The state wanted him to remain behind bars pending trial, but Crespo's attorney, Patrick Toscano, praised him as a hero.

"Jovanny Crespo was on the only one with the courage and the guts to run up to a vehicle...where there was a weapon," he said. "You don't treat a hero like this. You don't put him in handcuffs. Are you kidding me? And then play this (video), what I term as beautiful police work, to hold him in jail for the next ten months."

Still, the judge subjected him to Level 3 monitoring, which requires weekly checks, and he is not allowed to possess a gun or get a passport. He is also barred from having contact with Dixon, but he will be allowed to look for a job.

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