NEW BRUNSWICK – The investigation into the fatal shooting of a New Brunswick man by a city police officer is nearing completion following numerous interviews with witnesses, including police, emergency medical workers and city residents, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced today.
Pursuant to the New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive governing the review of use of deadly force cases, this matter will be scheduled and presented to a Middlesex County grand jury early next year to determine whether any criminal laws were violated. This directive requires that unless the undisputed facts indicate that the use of force was justifiable under the law, the matter must be presented to a grand jury.
The investigation began after Barry Deloatch, 46, was shot in an alley between two homes on Throop Avenue in New Brunswick at 12:12 a.m. on Sept. 22, during a foot pursuit involving two New Brunswick police officers.
An autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Deloatch was shot once in his left side and that the bullet pierced his aorta.
Kaplan has requested Superior Court Judge Travis L. Francis, the assignment judge at the Middlesex County Courthouse, empanel a special grand jury to hear testimony and review the evidence painstakingly collected during the investigation into the shooting in New Brunswick on Sept. 22.
Kaplan also asked Francis to require the panel of 23 ordinary citizens to meet on consecutive days until a decision is reached. In Middlesex County, grand juries meet once per week for 18 weeks to review cases. Currently, there are four grand juries sitting in Middlesex County. New panels will not be established until March 2012.
Presentation of the case on a daily, rather than weekly basis, would serve to minimize any unnecessary outside influences on the jury or the witnesses who appear before it, according to the prosecutor.
Grand juries are a function of the Superior Court and not the prosecuting agencies of New Jersey. Each county prosecutor’s office, and the Office of the Attorney General, is empowered to present evidence and testimony, but it is the grand jury that privately decides what action to take in each case that is presented.
A grand jury can hand up an indictment, known as a true bill, or take no action, or no bill, meaning that the jury found that that there was no probable cause to return an indictment.
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