State files charges against a Paterson police officer in shooting of man

Officer Jerry Moravek was charged with aggravated assault and official misconduct following the shooting of Khalif Cooper. Cooper was left paralyzed after the encounter.

News 12 Staff

Feb 7, 2023, 1:54 AM

Updated 531 days ago

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The mayor of Paterson is taking on the Murphy administration after the state Office of the Attorney General filed charges against a city police officer regarding the shooting of a Black man during a police encounter.
Officer Jerry Moravek was charged with aggravated assault and official misconduct following the shooting of Khalif Cooper. Cooper was left paralyzed after the encounter.
“The victim was fleeing and was shot in the back. One who had no weapon,” said Attorney General Matt Platkin. “No gun was found in the victim's possession or within his reach.”
According to Moravek’s body camera footage and a criminal complaint filed on Monday, one night in June 2022, police officers who were breaking up a large party heard gunfire. Seconds later, Moravek encounters a running Cooper.
Moravek pursues Cooper before firing his weapon.
“Moravek repeatedly ordered the victim to drop the gun, but never once ordered him to stop running, to get to the ground, or did he warn the victim that he was going to use deadly force,” Platkin said.
Platkin confirmed a gun was found half a block away from where Cooper was shot, “but not in the [Cooper’s] reach or in his possession.”
The criminal complaint says that the gun was found half a block from where Cooper was shot and on his route of travel but "no DNA or fingerprint evidence links that firearm" to Cooper.
In a nearly unprecedented move, the Democratic mayor of Paterson is rebuking the state Attorney General's Office by going against the Murphy administration and defending Moravek, who the mayor says had the authority to fire.
Mayor Andre Sayegh called the shooting unfortunate but said "a preliminary review reveals that the officer was following guidelines."
Moravek's attorney says his client saw Cooper carrying a gun during the chase and that the officer believed his life was at risk.


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