Newark police officer found guilty in 2019 deadly shooting during pursuit

Jovanny Crespo was on trial for killing Gregory Griffin and shooting Andrew Dixon in a 2019 incident in Newark.

Matt Trapani and Joti Rekhi

Jul 5, 2023, 8:11 PM

Updated 343 days ago

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A Newark police officer who was on trial for shooting two men during a police pursuit has been found guilty of multiple charges.
Jovanny Crespo was on trial for killing Gregory Griffin and shooting Andrew Dixon in a 2019 incident in Newark. The jury deliberated for nearly two weeks.
“Approximately four years ago, I stood at this microphone dumbfounded by the actions that I saw involving Officer Crespo. Even today they’re still hard to fathom and hard to watch,” says acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens.
The incident happened in January 2019. Griffin was initially pulled over for speeding. Crespo gave chase after Griffin fled the scene.
Body camera footage shows Crespo getting out of his police cruiser multiple times and firing at the car. He shot both Griffin and Dixon in the head, killing Griffin and injuring Dixon.
The jury found that Crespo acted recklessly and broke the law.
“It’s not a day to celebrate, except just to acknowledge the law has been applied to the facts. We do everything here on a case-by-case basis and I think that today’s verdict reflects that,” Stephens says.
Crespo claims he saw a gun in Dixon’s hand and that he had already been told by another officer Griffin had a gun.
Essex County Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Alex Albu tried the case. He says that the body camera videos were essential to the case.
“It wasn’t just a matter of what one officer said versus one witness who was at the scene. We had video that could actually cross-check that as well,” he says.
The judge denied Crespo’s attorneys' request to allow him to remain free until sentencing.
Crespo's attorneys wrote in a statement, "Obviously, we certainly are gravely disappointed with this jury's decision, especially after several days of deliberations and three different alternate jurors having been chosen along the way.
Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, we believe that if highly relevant evidence, in large quantity, was not barred, pre-trial, we remain steadfast in our resolve that the jury would have seen this matter in an entirely different light.
At the same time, however, because of what we believe to be myriad trial court errors requiring prompt reversal of this injustice, we look forward to filing and arguing our appeal to an objective appellate court panel."
Sentencing is expected for Sept. 15. Crespo faces up to 30 years in prison.


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