Did Elizabeth police shoot first, ask questions later?

The use of deadly force by police is under investigation after shots were fired and an officer was struck by the vehicle used by a fleeing suspect.

Rahway has experienced a surge in gun violence in recent years that coincides with a failure by police to solve a majority of reported offenses.

Two Elizabeth Police Department officers fired shots from their service weapons at a man, subsequently identified as 21-year-old Elizabeth resident Farris Mangoub Taielkrim, who struck a third officer with his vehicle.

According to Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park, at about midnight Saturday, a group of police officers were dining at a Washington Avenue restaurant in Elizabeth.

Looking outside, one of the officers spotted a car parked on the street that appeared to be a possible match to a vehicle used in a recent robbery, and the group of police left the restaurant to investigate.

Upon approaching the vehicle, they encountered Taielkrim, who was in possession of a handgun when the officers identified themselves as police.

At that point Taielkrim quickly entered the vehicle and sped away, striking one of the officers as two others fired rounds from their service weapons.

At issue in the investigation is whether officers were justified in trying to kill the man who was apparently attempting to get away from people who may have looked like they were going to shoot him.

No one is believed to have been struck by gunfire during the course of the incident and the officer who was hit by the vehicle was transported to a local hospital for treatment of lacerations and has since been discharged.

Taielkrim was located and arrested in Orange later Saturday morning, charged with second-degree aggravated assault on a police officer, and lodged in Union County Jail on $150,000 bail.

A handgun was also recovered from Taielkrim as a result of the arrest.

This incident and the officers’ use of force remain under an investigation being conducted in compliance with all portions of the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General’s law enforcement directive regarding uniform statewide procedures and best practices for such matters.

Law enforcement officers should use only the amount of force necessary to mitigate an incident, make an arrest, or protect themselves or others from harm, according to the National Institute of Justice.

Anyone with information about this matter is being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Dennis Donovan at 908-527-4558.


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