Newark officer suspended following deadly police-involved shooting

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A Newark officer who was involved in a police-involved shooting in January that resulted in a suspect's death has been suspended, city officials announced Tuesday.

Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose and Mayor Ras Baraka both said transparency is paramount in police-involved shootings in order to maintain community trust.

"We have concerns about this shooting and will cooperate fully with the Essex County Prosecutor's investigation," Ambrose said. "All of the body and dashboard camera recordings have been handed over to prosecutor."

The suspended officer, who has not been identified, has been a member of the Newark Police Division for 18 months.

Neither Ambrose or Baraka elaborated on the reason for the officer's suspension.

"Until an investigation by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office is finalized, I believe it is in the best interest of our community members that the officer be suspended," Ambrose said.

The incident happened shortly after 11:15 p.m. on January 28, when authorities say the police officer attempted a motor vehicle stop in the area of Thomas Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

The officer reportedly observed a firearm inside the vehicle, a four-door black Chrysler 300, and radioed for backup. Before additional officers arrived, however, the driver fled, initiating a police pursuit.

The suspect vehicle was fired upon by one officer at three locations before the car came to a final stop at Irvine Turner Boulevard and West Kinney Street.

The driver, 46-year-old Greg Griffin, and a passenger, 34-year-old Andrew Dixon, both of Newark, were transported to University Hospital for treatment.

Griffin was later pronounced deceased at the hospital, while Dixon was upgraded from critical condition to stable condition.

A loaded semi-automatic handgun was found in the suspects' car.

Dixon is charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a prohibited weapon.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens announced Tuesday that the case will be presented to a grand jury in accordance with New Jersey attorney general directives governing these incidents.

"The investigation is active and ongoing, but the evidence gathered, so far, raises serious questions about the officer's conduct," Stephens said. "Consequently, this matter will be presented to a grand jury for possible criminal charges."

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