The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office has ruled that a Kearny, New Jersey police officer was justified in shooting a suspected shoplifter as the man fled the Walmart parking lot in a car in September 2016. “The investigation consisted of witness statements, video evidence, and the collection of physical evidence recovered at the scene,” according to the HCPO. “Based on the undisputed facts reached during the investigation, the HCPO has determined that “…the officer’s use of force was justified under the law.” On the morning of Sept. 16, 2016, the officer responded to Walmart on Harrison Avenue on a call of a shoplifting and upon arrival, a story employee pointed at a Honda driven by Ramon Martinez, 44, of Jersey City, according to the HCPO. The officer had his gun drawn and was ordering the driver to get out of the car but the Honda backed out of a parking space and slammed into a car behind it, according to the HCPO. At this point, the police officer was in between his cruiser and the Honda driver’s side when it accelerated forward and the officer fired three shots. The Honda turned away from the officer who stopped shooting.
The Honda fled, according to the HCPO. When Martinez was located in Newark later that morning he had a wound to his left arm and right shoulder. His car had three bullet holes in it in an area that corroborated the officer was near the front of the car when he fired, according to the HCPO. “…the police officer reasonably believed he did not have sufficient time to safely move out of the Honda’s path and there was no reasonable way for the police officer to determine whether the Honda would turn towards him or away from him,” according to the HCPO. The result of the HCPO’s investigation was reviewed by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office which agreed with its conclusion. As a result of the ruling, no charges against the officer will be presented to the grand jury. Martinez was charged with eluding police, receiving stolen property and shoplifting. A co-defendant was charged with receiving stolen property, an official said at the time. An update on the status of their prosecutions was not immediately available this afternoon. [Source: NJ.com]