Paterson mayor stresses importance of having police body cameras
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh stressed the importance of police body cameras after the New Jersey Attorney General's Office released footage of the police-involved shooting of Najee Seabrooks.
The Attorney General's Office released the police body camera footage on Thursday of seven 911 calls that were made. Sayegh says this and every police-involved shooting needs complete transparency.
“We didn’t need any misinformation, we don’t need any misunderstanding, we need the truth. And that’s why I fought so hard for four years,” Sayegh said.
“It was four years ago when I said we need body cameras in Paterson. Previous mayor said it was too costly. But see, if you don’t get the truth, if you don’t have transparency, it will cost you far more than money,” Sayegh said.
The interaction between Seabrooks and the officers lasted for about five hours. Authorities have identified the two officers who opened fire and shot Seabrooks as Anzore Tsay and Jose Hernandez. Racial justice advocates are asking for the federal government to step in and investigate Seabrooks' death.
“This has been a traumatizing situation all around. And I invite everyone to watch and see for themselves, look at this body camera footage, and you will see that officers were there to render aid,” Sayegh said.
Kevin Slavin, the president and CEO of Saint Joseph's Health, said in a statement, "We know that there were valuable community resources that could have helped Najee – yet they were not utilized. This includes the St. Joseph's Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES), which is the NJ designated crisis intervention team for Passaic County (based at St. Joseph's University Medical Center in Paterson)."