Bridgeton mayor, NAACP confident in police shooting investigation

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Elected officials, the state NAACP and local religious leaders said Friday they have confidence in an investigation into a fatal police shooting. (WPVI)

Elected officials, the state NAACP and local religious leaders said Friday they have confidence in an investigation into a fatal police shooting at a traffic stop that was captured by a patrol car camera.

Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly, police Chief Mark Ott, state NAACP President Richard Smith and community leaders stressed peace in the city while the investigation goes on. They said they don't want the investigation turned over to the state attorney general, as activists have requested.

The video of the Dec. 30 shooting of Jerame Reid, who had stepped out of a car with his hands raised about shoulder level, was released this week, bringing new scrutiny. The police department made the video public in response to open records requests from two newspapers.

Kelly said local leaders have been in the community answering questions and stressing peace as the investigation unfolds. Kelly wouldn't comment on the investigation but said he cringes every time he sees the video.

"We would all wish the events of that night did not happen," Kelly said. "But it has happened. We must heal and go forward as a community. Yes, we can go back and see the mistakes that were made so we can move forward and learn from our mistakes, so we can be better for it."

Kelly would not elaborate on what those mistakes were.

The video shows Officer Braheme Days proclaiming that a gun was in the glove compartment of a Jaguar that was pulled over for running a stop sign. Upon seeing the weapon, the officer drew his gun and ordered both men in the car - Leroy Tutt, who was the driver, and Reid, the passenger - to show their hands.

Tutt complied, but Reid did not at first, even as Days shouted that he should show his hands and not move. Days reached into the car and took out what appeared to be a silver handgun.

One of the men in the car said he was going to get out and get on the ground. Days said he could not. Still, Reid stepped out of the car as he raised his hands.

Days and his partner quickly fired at least half a dozen shots, killing Reid.

Reid was black; Days is black, and his partner is white.

Reid's death capped a year in which the killings of other black men by police officers prompted sometimes violent protests and a broader conversation about race in America.

Phone numbers could not be found for either officer, and a union official would not answer a question about whether they had lawyers.

Police Officer Shane Sawyers, president of Police Benevolent Association Local 94, which represents them, said, "We support our guys 100 percent."

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