Hero or villain? Cop indicted for shooting fleeing driver (Opinion)
A rookie police officer in Newark is being hailed a hero by his lawyer and the Newark FOP president says he will be acquitted. Officer Jovanny Crespo was indicted Tuesday, according to NJ.com, for a shooting incident in January. Two men fled from a traffic stop and police gave chase. Officers said they had seen a gun in their vehicle.
Several times throughout the chase when the suspect car slowed, Crespo jumped out of his cruiser and video from NJ.com, which you can see above, shows him firing upon the car. Crespo is heard on the video saying one of them men had aimed a gun right at him. Both men were shot inside the fleeing car, according to police. The driver was killed. Police charged the other man with possessing a gun with hollow-point bullets.
Newark FOP President James Stewart Jr. was quoted by Pix 11 as saying, "His life was in danger and he took the appropriate action. You know we don't have to wait to be shot at. The officer acted to the threat that was posed to him, and I think he did a great job."
A grand jury saw it differently and handed up indictments against the officer Tuesday. The incident was recorded on Crespo's body cam. Watch the video above provided by NJ.com and decide for yourself.
Personally I'm going to give the officer the benefit of the doubt. Fleeing from a traffic stop with a gun containing hollow point bullets doesn't exactly spell model citizen to me. If the officer says the gun was pointed at him I have no reason at this point in time to not believe him. Unfortunately we're at a place in society now where police officers seem to be the only ones who are presumed guilty and have to prove their innocence.