At a news conference today Mayor Fulop called upon the New Jersey Attorney General to quickly release body-cam video of yesterday’s fatal confrontation between Jersey City police and an emotionally disturbed Bergen-Lafayette man.

According to Fulop and Public Safety Director James Shea, 52-year-old Andrew Jerome Washington was shot with a firearm and taser by members of the Emergency Services Unit who were called to Washington’s home by emergency medical services personnel from Jersey City Medical Center.

“After an hour…when our supervisors were afraid that somebody may be in medical distress in the apartment they opened the door…they never entered…he then immediately rushed out” said Shea.

“They were charged by Mr. Washington with knife in hand” said Mayor Fulop.

Washington died a short time later at Jersey City Medical Center.

“We do feel that the use of force yesterday was justified” the mayor went on.

“This is a tragedy, no question. Someone lost their life” he said, but added, “when you look at the footage of what actually transpired, you’d be hard pressed to say you would’ve taken a different approach.”

“The one thing I would hope is that there will be a quick release of the video so the public can see it” said Fulop. He said he was concerned that a delay would breed public mistrust.

According to Shea, in 2022, Jersey City police responded to 1868 calls to deal with emotionally disturbed people. “We only had to use any type of force 41 times. Only three suspects received any kind of injury…and five of our officers were injured.”

“Mr. Washington is sick. He’s not bad, he’s not evil, he was sick. That didn’t make him any less dangerous….we all wish it had ended differently” said Shea.

Family and neighbors have expressed dismay at the police use of force, saying that although Washington had been treated for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, he was not a danger to others. His Aunt, Lisa Mendez, told CBS News that “he was a peaceful, loving, funny type of guy.” An elderly neighbor who spoke with the Jersey City Times immediately after the shooting also said that Washington had not posed a threat.

In a written statement, Ward E Councilman James Solomon called for a “transparent and unbiased investigation” saying “the Washington family and Jersey City deserve transparency and accountability.”

Ward F Councilman Frank Gilmore called for the establishment of a crisis intervention team and for the immediate release of the body-cam footage, adding “while some may have called this shooting justified, I want the community and family to understand that only the AG can make that decision.”

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....