Authorities release video of man's fatal shooting by police

AP News
Posted: Jul 24, 2017 6:07 PM

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Authorities have released video of a man's fatal shooting by police in Atlantic City, New Jersey, just days after the state Supreme Court ruled dashboard camera videos of such shootings should be made public.

The 2014 video shows a lengthy police chase that went through four towns and culminated with the shooting of Antoquan Watson, 27, of Williamstown. A Pleasantville police car's dashboard camera captured much of the event.

The chase began at a Pleasantville restaurant shortly after police responded to a report of a man who had a gun there. The officers pursued Watson's SUV through city streets and along highways as he ran red lights and swerved around other vehicles. He also fired a round at officers while driving, authorities said.

The chase ended when Watson's SUV collided with another vehicle in Atlantic City. Watson got out of his car moments later with a handgun in his right hand. Police ordered him to drop the weapon, but he instead began firing at the officers, who returned fire.

Seven officers — four from Pleasantville and three from Atlantic City — shot Watson more than 40 times, continuing to fire after he fell to the ground. However, the condition of the slugs made it impossible to tell which officer fired the fatal shot.

A grand jury reviewed the shooting and found the officers' actions were justified.

The release of the almost 13-minute video followed a decision by the state's top court in a case that was widely watched by government transparency advocates. That decision stemmed from another fatal police shooting in 2014 that occurred in Lyndhurst.

The justices ruled the town should have released video and use-of-force reports after a request from the North Jersey Media Group, following the shooting after a high-speed chase involving a stolen car. They said dashboard footage can "inform the public's strong interest" in the fatal police shooting without "undermining the integrity of an investigation."

The court agreed some other investigative reports from the shooting — which a grand jury determined was justified — did not need to be released.