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Prosecution closes in trial of Newark police officer accused in deadly shooting during chase

Officer Jovanny Crespo is on trial. The state claims that he was unjustified in shooting two men during a high-speech chase. One of those men – Gregory Griffin – died.

Matt Trapani and Chris Keating

Jun 21, 2023, 9:31 PM

Updated 364 days ago

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The criminal trial of a Newark police officer is nearing its end as closing arguments wrap up.
Officer Jovanny Crespo is on trial. The state claims that he was unjustified in shooting two men during a high-speed chase. One of those men – Gregory Griffin – died.
Essex County prosecutors spoke on Wednesday. Over nearly five hours they told jurors that Crespo was never in any imminent danger and that there was no gun pointed at him which could justify shooting two men in the head.
Dashboard and police body camera video show the police chase that Crespo was involved in. Crespo is seen shooting at three different locations firing at a car with two men. The prosecution says the video reveals Crespo's guilt.
“He is purposely ignoring the law and deciding to hunt down Mr. Griffin and [Andrew] Dixon,” said Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Alex Albu.
Albu says Crespo never saw a gun pointed in his direction from the first time he jumped out of his patrol car and fired to the last when Griffin and Dixon were shot.
He reminded the jury that it is illegal to fire a gun at a car or suspect if there is no imminent threat. Albu said that Crespo is lying by creating a story to justify the shooting.
"Shooting at a car or in the direction of either occupant in the car in order to stop the car was unauthorized and he knew it,” Albu said. "Just because the defendant knew the rules doesn't mean that he's willing to follow the rules."
Albu used Crespo's own testimony against him, reminding jurors that Crespo said he saw Dixon pointing a gun at him with his right hand.  But it was revealed that Dixon is left-handed.
The defense says Crespo did see a gun and if he didn't fire first, he'd have been killed. They don't believe what Crespo did was a crime.
The jury will next be charged, which means the judge will explain the charges that Crespo faces to the jury. These charges include aggravated assault and reckless manslaughter.


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