Newark police officer on trial for deadly 2019 shooting during chase

Officer Jovanny Crespo is accused of shooting and killing Gregory Griffin and shooting and wounding another man.

Matt Trapani and Chris Keating

May 16, 2023, 9:18 PM

Updated 396 days ago

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A trial is underway for a Newark police officer accused of fatally shooting a man during a chase.
Officer Jovanny Crespo is accused of shooting and killing Gregory Griffin and shooting and wounding another man. Crespo has stated that he was justified in the shooting because he feared for his life. But the Essex County prosecutor says that what the officer did was criminal.
The shooting happened four years ago. Assistant Prosecutor Alex Albu says that the shooting of Griffin and Andrew Dixon was not justified.
"What the law doesn't provide, what the criminal justice system doesn't allow, is for the defendant or any police officer to be judge, jury and executioner,” Albu said.
Officials say that both men were shot in the head while inside a car. The entire high-speed chase and deadly shooting were captured by police body and dashboard cameras. The videos show the moment Crespo ran up to the side of the car and fired into the Chrysler 300 on a January 2019 night.
WATCH: Police body camera video
But defense attorney Patrick Toscano stated in opening arguments that Crespo was a hero. He argued that Crespo saw a gun earlier during the chase and had the guts to confront the two men who had sped away from a traffic stop.
"As Crespo gets up there, he sees Griffin and Dixon doing one of these [gestures like he’s hiding something]. Holy cow not again. He takes a shot at both. That’s when he hits them both. Completely justified,” Toscano said.
Crespo is facing several charges, including aggravated manslaughter, aggravated assault and official misconduct.
Officially, he has been suspended from the Newark Police Department without pay.


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