State releases video of man who died in NJ police custody

The Attorney General’s Office released video recordings from officer body-worn cameras related to the death of Stephen A. Dolceamore, 29, of Media, Pa., who died in the custody of Trenton police officers on April 3, 2020.

The death of Dolceamore remains under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, but the video recordings are being released pursuant to Attorney General Directive 2019-4, the “Independent Prosecutor Directive,” which governs use-of-force investigations in New Jersey and requires that such records, if requested, be released to the public once the initial phase of the investigation is substantially complete.

The autopsy report in this case was completed on July 21, 2020. Additional investigative steps were taken after that report was completed, and today investigators met with relatives of Mr. Dolceamore to review the autopsy report and view the video recordings from the body-worn cameras.

On April 3, 2020, at approximately 11:45 a.m., the Trenton Police Department responded to a report of a man behaving erratically and walking into traffic near St. Francis Medical Center.

Officers located the subject, later identified as Dolceamore, who tried to run away. Officers pursued Dolceamore, forced him to the ground, and restrained and handcuffed him.

The video recordings from the body-worn cameras capture this encounter. During the encounter, Dolceamore became unresponsive.

Police officers and emergency medical personnel attempted to provide medical assistance and he was transported to St. Francis Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased at 12:40 p.m.

The recordings are contained in three files, which have been posted online.  Click here for files.

The investigation is being conducted pursuant to a state law enacted in January 2019 (P.L.2019, c.1), which requires that the Attorney General’s Office conduct investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody.

The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time. Under state law and the Independent Prosecutor Directive, when the entire investigation is complete, the case will be presented to a grand jury, typically consisting of 16 to 23 citizens, to make the ultimate decision regarding whether criminal charges will be filed.

At present due to the COVID-19 pandemic, regular grand juries are not sitting and hearing cases.

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