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Prosecutors: Trenton officer not indicted in 2022 shooting that left man paralyzed

Prosecutors say a Mercer County grand jury found detective Michael Gettler justified in the 2022 shooting of Jajuan Henderson.

Lanette Espy

Apr 4, 2023, 12:21 PM

Updated 474 days ago

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A Trenton officer involved in a shooting in 2022 that left a man paralyzed will not be indicted, according to Union County prosecutors.
Prosecutors say a Mercer County grand jury found detective Michael Gettler justified in the shooting of Jajuan Henderson. Prosecutors say Henderson’s vehicle was parked in a high crime area near a house suspected for complaints of prostitution. Police body cam video shows Henderson in a car in Trenton as officers approached him. Prosecutors say Henderson refused to put down his car window, refused to produce credentials and was advised that he was under arrest for obstruction.
Prosecutors say after providing multiple warnings to Henderson, Gettler broke the driver’s window to attempt to arrest him. Henderson attempted to flee the scene, according to prosecutors, and Gettler discharged four shots, leaving Henderson seriously injured.
Evidence collected included body worn camera recordings, photographs of the scene, ballistics, and statements from the officers, according to prosecutors. In March, the grand jurors found that Gettler’s actions were legally justified. Prosecutors say Gettler stated that he was in fear of his life and the lives of his colleagues when he decided to discharge his weapon.
Henderson's lawyer released the following statement to News 12 New Jersey:
"We have all seen the body-worn footage; Officer Gettler repeatedly shot an unarmed Black man without justification. As announced, the grand jury’s failure to indict Officer Gettler raises serious questions about equality under the law and the rights of victims of police brutality. Unfortunately, many of our questions will go unanswered because grand jury testimony is vaulted behind the secrecy of these proceedings. Unlike other States that have dealt with officer-involved shootings, there is no public right to access the records of these grand jury proceedings. When our public officials put human life on the line, transparency demands that such grand jury records be released. Jajuan and his loved ones so demand today. The democratic principles of transparency and accountability require it."
"This is the same officer that smashed a car window into a passenger. The same officer that demanded the identification of someone in a parked car. Not only does he walk away free from possible violations of the criminal code, he continues his employment in Trenton’s Police Department. Who does Officer Gettler protect and serve? Because it was not Jajuan Henderson in February 2022," the statement concluded.


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