HACKENSACK - The police officers involved in two fatal police-involved shootings last year have been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Elvin Diaz was shot and killed on May 21, 2015 when officers were responding to a probationary welfare check. Raymond Peralta-Lantigua died a few weeks later on June 11, 2015, after police were called to a disturbance.
The Diaz case was presented before a Bergen County grand jury, which decided not to file charges against the two officers.
Hackensack police arrived at Diaz’s home after he failed to get in touch with his probation officer. Police found Diaz inside his home, armed with a meat cleaver.
According to police, Diaz failed to drop the cleaver when he commanded to do so. He was shot nine times after he lunged at officers. He apparently told officers to shoot him before he killed them, according to a prosecutor’s news release. Several witnesses backed up the police report.
The Peralta-Lantigua case did not go to the grand jury, because the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office determined the shooting was legally justified.
The investigation found that Hackensack police were called for reports of an “emotionally disturbed person with a knife.” When officers arrived they found Peralta-Lantigua with a large knife outside the home, according to police.
The report found that the officer gave commands to Peralta-Lantigua, which he refused. He apparently shouted “The knife is me!” according to the release.
Police say that Peralta-Lantigua threatened the officer with the knife and refused to back down. He was shot twice.
The officers’ account of what happened was also backed up by several civilian witnesses.