Crime Scene Tape

In a dramatic four minute call on May 24, a distraught woman can be heard asking a 911 operator for help as a man with a gun pursues her towards a gas station on Communipaw Avenue.

According to the the New Jersey Attorney General, when the responding officers arrived at the gas station at Communipaw and West Side Avenues they saw Joseph Robertson, 59, of Jersey City, pull the woman closer to him and place her in a “headlock.” The officers reported seeing Robertson point what appeared to be a gun at her. Officer Omar Polanco fired his weapon, killing Robertson.

An investigation is ongoing.

The following is a transcript (with minor redactions) of the phone call leading up to the incident.

Caller: Can I get some police here?

911 operator: What is the address?

Caller: Clinton Avenue.

911 operator: What’s going on there ma’m?

Caller: There’s a guy following me with a gun.

911 operator: And who is the guy?


911 operator: Are you inside the apartment right now?

Caller: No. I’m walking around and he’s walking behind me. I’m walking to West Side. 

911 operator: And you say you’re (bleep) with a gun? You said you’re (bleep) Clinton Avenue?

Caller: Yes.

911 operator: And what is he wearing ma’m?

Caller: Black shirt. Grey army jacket.

911 operator: Grey jacket and black shirt?

Caller: Yes. I’m heading to the the gas station.

911 operator: What gas station?

Caller: The one at Communipaw and Westside.

911 operator: You’re in the BP gas station?

Caller: I’m walking and calling you. He’s walking behind me right now.

911 operator: What is his (unclear)

Caller: He’s American.

911 operator: I know. Is he white, black?

Caller: No. He’s not white. He’s like Black.

911 operator: Are you close by?

911 operator: He’s wearing black shirt and grey pants?

Caller: No, I’m wearing black pants (unclear) He’s wearing a grey sweatsuit.

911 operator: And where are you exactly now?

Caller: I’m right by the gas station. Are you coming? (distraught)

911 operator: Yes ma’m the police will be there as soon as possible. Stay with me.

And you said BP station?

Caller:  Right.

911 operator: You said BP station between Westside and Communipaw?

Caller: Yes. (sobbing)

911 operator: Are you still there?

Caller:  (sobbing) He’s standing by the crossway.

911 operator: OK. Where is he standing again?

Caller:  (unclear)

911 operator: OK ma’am can you give the description again?

911 operator: He’s black and what else? He’s wearing grey (unclear) and what else?

Caller:  Yes.

911 operator: What else?

Caller: He’s walking (unclear)

911 operator: Is he bald? He has hair? He’s bald?

Caller: Yes. Yes (distraught)

Screaming in background

911 operator: I just want to make sure are you still there and (unclear) the station?

Caller: Yes.



Dial tone

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....