In the midst of worldwide #BlackLivesMatter protests against police brutality, the family of Jamaican-born Maurice Gordon is seeking justice after he was shot dead during a routine traffic stop by a police trooper in New Jersey.
The incident occurred on May 23, just two before the death of George Floyd, along the Garden State Parkway in Bass River, New Jersey.
Maurice Gordon, a 28-year-old resident of Poughkeepsie, New York, was raised in Spanish Town, Jamaica. At age 19, he migrated to the US, where his father was living, according to a US-based news website, NJ.com.
Gordon, who was unarmed, was allegedly shot multiple times by a white trooper after he reportedly removed his seatbelt a number of times while he sat in the trooper’s car.
According to Gordon’s family attorney, William O Wagstaff III, on the day in question, the Jamaican native was stopped by the trooper for reportedly committing a speeding violation. When the trooper asked Gordon to drive his car to a different spot on the highway, the car would not start. The trooper then called for a tow truck, the attorney stated in an interview with NJ.com.
“Mr Gordon did not want to remain in his vehicle, so he was invited by the trooper to sit in the back of the trooper’s vehicle,” Wagstaff said, adding that Gordon had been searched for weapons and none was found.
“Once in the back of the trooper’s vehicle, he was made to sit there for more than 30 minutes without any information being provided, not being issued a ticket, and there was no indication (that) he was under arrest,” Wagstaff told NJ.com.
The attorney said Gordon twice removed his seatbelt and put it back on as the trooper instructed.
But the third time, Gordon apparently removed the seatbelt and tried to get out of the vehicle. The trooper “got physical with him and eventually shot him multiple times,” Wagstaff told the US media website.
The trooper then handcuffed the bleeding Jamaican native, the attorney stated.
The family of Gordon is calling for justice for their relative. Questions have been raised about why it was problematic for Gordon to leave the trooper’s vehicle, since he had not been ticketed or arrested.
“He (Maurice Gordon) didn’t do drugs. He didn’t hang out with the wrong crowd… He did not come all the way from Jamaica to die at the hands of someone else,” his sister, Yanique was quoted as saying in her interview with NJ.com.
At the time of his death, Maurice Gordon was a chemistry student enrolled at Dutchess Community College in New York, and worked as a driver for UberEats, according to his mother.
The New Jersey attorney general today released the police dash-camera footage of the incident. In the 2-minute clip, Gordon is seen exiting the vehicle. A scuffle ensues and the trooper shoots Gordon several times.