Protests over death of man who went to Paterson police headquarters asking for help

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- A community in New Jersey is demanding answers over the death of a young man who walked into a police station disoriented and asking for help. A short time later, he fell unconscious and never woke up.

Jameek Lowery broadcast his final moments on Facebook Live before dawn on Saturday. Now his family and community are demanding to know what happened after the video.

Sources said the 27-year-old called 911 then told Paterson police he'd taken ecstasy when he staggered into their headquarters from a nearby Wendy's restaurant.

At one point he is heard on the 911 call saying, "Don't shoot me in here please, don't kill me, please."

Police called an ambulance and accompanied him to St. Joseph's Hospital. By the time he arrived, he was unresponsive, the Passaic County Prosecutor said.

Investigators are trying to find out what happened during that five to 12 minutes ride.

"The family is strong, they're very strong and they're determined to make sure that Jameek gets justice," said community activist Rev. Corey Teague.

in a statement, the prosecutor's office said police used physical force and compliance holds to secure Lowery in the ambulance. Hospital records indicate no acute trauma.

"They will do the autopsy. Everything will come up, and then we'll know where we stand and the answers will be given to you," said Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale. "I want you to have those answers. Right or wrong, I want you to have those answers."

The Passaic County Prosecutor has launched an independent investigation into the case, and the three police officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave.

In response to Lowery's death, tension boiled over in Paterson Tuesday night as hundreds clashed with police on the street and spilled out of an overcrowded city hall.

"I want justice. I need the truth, and I'm not going nowhere until I get the truth," said Patrice King, Lowery's mother.

"He was extremely paranoid. He was terrified, and he had no shoes on," said Hawk Newsome of Black Lives Matter. "What I did notice was his face looked good, and within a few hours, he was dead."

City Council members brushed away tears as an anguished family begged to understand what happened to Lowery.
"My heart hurts. I can't explain how I feel because I don't know how I feel," said Jamilia Laurie, Lowery's sister. "I can't go to sleep at night. I've been up since this happened. I cannot sleep."

----------
* More New Jersey news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2019 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.