Answers Wanted: ‘Standout’ Hudson Valley Man Fatally Shot By Cops
Update: Officials released videos and information over an approximately 30-hour period that led to the fatal shooting of a Gordon by police.
A family is still demanding answers after a Hudson Valley man was killed by police two days before the death of George Floyd.
Maurice Gordon, 28, of Poughkeepsie was fatally shot by a white New Jersey State Trooper on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey during a traffic stop on May 23, two days before the death of Floyd in Minneapolis in police custody.
Not much information is known about the fatal shooting and Gordon's family is demanding answers. The family's attorney William O. Wagstaff, III says he has more questions than answers after he was shown a limited portion of police video.
"When an unarmed Black man gets pulled over for a traffic stop by a white police officer in New Jersey, one of the possible outcomes should not be his death. We cannot allow the continued sacrifice of the lives of Black people at the hands of police officers and hope that it will foment an evolution towards justice and equality that should be the heritage of all Americans," Wagstaff wrote on Facebook.
Wagstaff says Gordon was unarmed when he was shot multiple times by a white police officer who handcuffed the 28-year-old after shooting him.
“It just doesn’t pass the smell test when you say you’re not releasing that information. “As an initial matter, when you have family that is grieving, have a son that is killed unexpectedly by a police officer, you want to know the name of the killer, whether (Gordon) died on side of the road, in ambulance or at the hospital, whether there were first-aid efforts. Things that are reasonable," Wagstaff told the Burlington County Times.
According to Wagstaff, Gordon was stopped for a speeding ticket in Bass River Township. The officer requested Gordon move his car to another spot, but his car wouldn't start and a tow truck was called.
“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 told NJ.Com said. “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 he was under arrest."
Wagstaff says a police officer got physical with Gordon and shot him after he removed his seat belt three times and tried to get out of the police cruiser. It remains unclear why Gordon wanted to get out of the police car.
A Change.org petition says Gordon wanted to leave the police cruiser after waiting for over 30 minutes without being arrested or being told any information about why he was being held. As of this writing, over 10 thousand people have signed the petition demanding justice for Gordon and the unnamed officer charged.
Gordon is originally from Jamacia. He moved to the region when he was 19 has been studying chemistry at Dutchess County Community College. The college describes Gordon as being a "standout" student who was "destined for great things."
"As the tragic events of the past few weeks continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and minds, we have just learned that one of our own, 28-year-old Dutchess Community College student Maurice Gordon, was killed on May 23 by a state trooper after a routine traffic stop on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey. Full details of the incident have not yet been released to the family or their attorney, but according to initial news coverage of the incident, Maurice was unarmed," Dutchess Community College President Pamela Edington wrote. "Maurice was studying science and part of our CSTEP program. He had been identified as a standout who could take advantage of research opportunities, and was looking forward to beginning this work next semester. By all accounts, Maurice was a smart, involved, affable young man – a loving son and brother – who was destined for great things."
New Jersey State Police aren't committing on the fatal shooting. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office is investigating. Hudson Valley Post has filed an Open Public Records Act request for any and all footage in the traffic stop in which Gordon was fatally shot."