Civil rights leader: ‘Deeply troubled’ by fatal Bridgeton police shooting

February 11, 2017

By Staff

A day after police fatally shot a man in Bridgeton, the chairman of a South Jersey-based civil rights group said Saturday that he is extremely disturbed by the police shooting and by the fact that the investigation is being handled by the local prosecutor’s office.

“I am deeply troubled by the actions of the Bridgeton Police Department,” Walter Hudson, chairman and founder of the Salem County-based National Awareness Alliance said in a statement. He called for the New Jersey State Attorney General to take over the investigation because local prosecutors “cannot be trusted.”

The fatal police-involved shooting occurred about 4 p.m. Friday in neighboring Cumberland County. That county’s prosecutor, Jennifer Webb-McRae, said in a statement Friday night that her office is investigating the fatal shooting by Bridgeton police of a man in the area of South and North Fremont Avenues.

Webb-McRae did not name the man who was killed, saying his name was being withheld pending positive identification. In her statement, she said the preliminary investigation showed that the man was running from police when at least one officer fired at him. It said a firearm was found near the man’s body.

Hudson, in his statement, did not identify the victim but said his mother is Gwen Benson. He said he was contacted Saturday morning by Benson’s family and friends. “My condolence and prayers goes out to the family,” he said.

A phone number for Benson could not be found in public records. Hudson did not immediately return a phone call or email Saturday seeking further information.

He called on the state attorney general’s office “to immediately intervene in this investigation.”

Hudson cited the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office’s prior investigation into the Dec. 30, 2014, police-involved shooting death of Jerame Reid, 36, also in Bridgeton. Hudson said those prosecutors “have shown in the past with the improprieties around Jerame Reed, they cannot be trusted with this particular investigation.”

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