Authorities release video from deadly police shooting in Elizabeth
The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General has released police body camera video related to a deadly police shooting in Elizabeth in July.
The shooting happened on July 29. Elizabeth police were called to an Amity Street home after a woman called 911 to report that a man she claimed to be drunk was pounding on her door.
Police body camera video shows that when officers arrived, screaming could be heard coming from inside the home. Two men were inside and appear to be restraining a man identified as 42-year-old Estiben “Stiven” Alegria-Hurtado, who appeared to be holding a knife.
The video appears to show Alegria-Hurtado breaking free from the two men’s grasp and lunging at the woman. This is when Elizabeth Police Officer Steve Lazo fires one shot at Alegria-Hurtado and he collapses.
The woman can be heard shouting that “he” was trying to kill her. Authorities say that a knife was recovered at the scene.
Alegria-Hurtado died at the hospital one day later.
Alegria-Hurtado’s family has maintained that the shooting was not justified and that Alegria-Hurtado should not have been shot. They have said that Alegria-Hurtado had no intention of using the knife and that family members had the situation under control.
Family members and community activists were allowed to view the video on Monday. Activists say that police officers were too quick to fire upon Alegria-Hurtado.
“It happened pretty fast and it probably didn’t have to happen that fast,” says Salaam Ismail, of the People’s Organization for Progress.
Ismail says that his group has worked with police officers on de-escalation tactics and he feels none of those methods were used in this case.
“With more communication, more techniques, they could have slowed the situation and possibly didn’t have to resort to something lethal,” he says.
The Attorney General's Office says that the cause will eventually be presented to a grand jury, according to New Jersey law, to determine if any criminal charges will be filed.