Earlier this month the Supreme Court in New Jersey ruled that dashcam footage of fatal shootings involving police should be released as a matter of public interest.
This prompted the release of video of an incident in March 2014 in which Atlantic City police officers gunned down 27-year-old Antoquan Watson.
Watson had been reported to police after being seen leaving a restaurant in Atlantic City holding a handgun. When approached by officers, he ignored their attempts to engage and instead drove away.
In the 10-mile car chase that followed, the New Jersey native hit speeds of up to 85 miles per hour, ran multiple red lights, rammed two cars and fired his gun at police before eventually crashing into a civilian’s car.
The dashcam footage then shows Watson climbing out of the stopped car and advancing towards the police officers while firing his gun. Seven police officers fired back and he was quickly felled in a hail of bullets.
An autopsy revealed that Watson sustained a total of 45 gunshot wounds. The medical examiner concluded that the fatal wound was a headshot that he received after falling to the ground. No police officers or civilians were physically injured during the firefight.
“The video establishes that officers continued to fire at Mr. Watson until each officer perceived that he was no longer a threat,” Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.
The autopsy also discovered the presence of the drug PCP in Watson’s system.
In June 2015, an Atlantic County Grand Jury declined to bring criminal indictments against the police officers involved in the shoot-out.
“A nationally renowned expert on police use of force reviewed the evidence gathered during the course of the investigation, inspected the scene, and inspected all physical evidence,” the prosecutor’s office said.
“This expert concluded that the use of force by police officers under these circumstances was lawful, and consistent with all applicable law enforcement guidelines and standard police training.”