Newark Cop Indicted for Manslaughter After Firing at a Car as it Fled & at Close Range. Black Man Shot to Death & Black Passenger Injured

newark cop murders 2.jpg

From [HERE] A Newark police officer is facing manslaughter charges after prosecutors say he shot and killed a man fleeing a traffic stop earlier this year. 

The Essex County Prosecutor's Office announced Jovanny Crespo, 26, was indicted on multiple charges including aggravated manslaughter, aggravated assault and two each of counts of second degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and official misconduct.

The indictment came almost three months after Crespo was suspended without pay as an investigation was launched. 

If convicted of all counts, Crespo could face life in prison.

Although a detention hearing has not been scheduled, Crespo is likely to make his first court appearance Wednesday or Thursday.

The Essex County Prosecutor's Office presented the case to a grand jury following a review of the incident.

On Tuesday, prosecutors said Crespo acted in a "criminal" way and his actions were not in line with his training.

"He showed a reckless disregard for human life by shooting into a moving vehicle — a vehicle which had heavily tinted windows," Acting Essex County Prosecutor Stephens said.

In late January, prosecutors said a preliminary investigation indicated that Newark police tried to stop a vehicle but the driver didn't stop, and "shots were fired by one police officer at three separate locations."

Two Newark men in the car, 35-year-old Andrew Dixon and 46-year-old Gregory Griffin, were shot. Griffin died the next day.

A loaded semi-automatic handgun was found in the vehicle.

Prosecutors say that Crespo was not the original officer to make the traffic stop in the area of Clinton Avenue and Thomas Street, but rather a female officer. However, when Griffin allegedly fled the stop, she radioed that he was fleeing and that she sat a gun, which lead to a pursuit involving numerous police cars, prosecutors say.

Crespo fired shots at the fleeing car at three separate locations, according to prosecutors. The vehicle then stopped in the area of Irvine Turner Boulevard, near Kinney Street.

No police officers were injured, prosecutors said, adding no other police officers discharged their weapons.

According to prosecutors, this is the first fatal police-involved shooting to result in an indictment in Essex County in recent memory.

Prosecutors released body camera (which can be seen below) and dash camera video, as well as dispatch audio related to the police chase and shooting.

In Crespo's body camera video footage, you can hear someone, presumably Crespo, telling the other officer in the police car at one point, "I think I shot him. I seen a gun. He pointed a gun at me" once he enters the car after firing at the vehicle involved in the pursuit.

Body camera video shows Crespo fired at the car on three different occasions — the last almost at point blank range. 

Later on the body camera video, after the pursuit, Crespo tells other police officers that he shot both of the men.