NEW BRUNSWICK — A grand jury has declined to file criminal charges against the officers involved in the fatal police shooting of Barry E. Deloatch, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced yesterday evening.
Deloatch’s surviving next-of-kin reacted with shock and disappointment. “We are devastated,” said Barry Gavin, one of Deloatch’s sons and, along with younger son Barry Deloatch Jr., a co-executor of his father’s estate, “This is not right.”
“While the shooting is a tragedy on many levels, it is clear that the grand jury conducted a thorough, impartial and independent review,” Kaplan said.
“Although some may disagree with the grand jury’s finding, the review and decision by the panel of ordinary citizens will withstand the scrutiny of any potential review by any state or federal agency,” Kaplan said.
During the early morning of Sept. 22, 2011, uniformed New Brunswick police officers in a marked police car were on routine patrol in the Second Ward of the city.
According to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Officer Brad Berdel and his partner, Officer Daniel Mazan, saw several men, including Deloatch, 46, of New Brunswick, emerge from an alley in the area of Seaman Street between Throop and Remsen avenues.
As the police vehicle got closer, they heard someone yell “5-0,” a common street term warning of the arrival of police. As reported by the New Brunswick Police Department, the officers stopped to investigate.
Mazan got out of the passenger side of the patrol car and asked the men to show him their hands. All complied, except Deloatch who, according to police reports, kept his left hand behind him.
Despite repeated demands, Deloatch failed to comply, causing Mazan to draw his weapon and make a final demand for Deloatch to show his hands, New Brunswick police reported.
Deloatch fled. Officer Mazan holstered his weapon and ran after him, according to authorities. Berdel radioed police headquarters, advising of the foot pursuit, and followed in the patrol car.
Mazan caught up to Deloatch in an alley between 103 and 105 Throop Avenue, a distance of approximately one-and-a-half blocks from the initial stop. Police reported that a struggle ensued.
Berdel arrived and saw Mazan jump over a gate leading into the alley. Berdel entered the alley during the struggle and fired a single shot from his service weapon, striking and killing Deloatch.
Deloatch was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was pronounced dead at 12:37 a.m.
The New Brunswick Police Department subsequently reported that Deloatch was attempting to assault Mazan, and was swinging a piece of wood that he had picked up. The Deloatch family disputes this claim and maintains that Barry Deloatch was unarmed when he was shot.
Both officers also were taken to the hospital. Berdel had no physical injuries. Mazan was treated for injuries to his right hand and arm and was released.
Following Attorney General guidelines governing the investigation of police use of deadly force, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office took control of the investigation after receiving notification from the New Brunswick Police Department immediately following the shooting.
Kaplan said he will refer the case to the New Brunswick Police Department for an administrative review to determine if any of the rules, regulations, policies and procedures of the department were violated.
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