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NEWARK, NJ—Attorneys for Victor Rodriguez will file a federal lawsuit against the City of New Brunswick and Middlesex County today.
NewBrunswickToday.com has obtained a video that could be critically important in their case.
Rodriguez was shot and seriously injured by police officers on January 31 after he fired a starter's pistol into the air during an altercation with several other young men. As we reported in Februrary, Rodriguez's family said he was shot five times by the police.
The incident took place at 6:13pm, and was caught on video by a nearby security camera. NewBrunswickToday.com released the video, which had not yet been made available to the public, along with audio from police radio transmissions.
The video shows a rare three-man unmarked police car pulling up to the intersection of Remsen Avenue and Seaman Street. The shadow of a person crosses the street towards the officers, and then suddenly two individuals sprint away from something off-camera.
One of those individuals is Victor Rodriguez, who runs past the driver's side door of the police vehicle. The driver gets out and shoots Rodriguez, who falls face first in the middle of the street and loses his fake gun, which can be observed sliding several yards down the street.
Then, three seconds later, Rodriguez's body visibly lifts off the ground as he is shot again by another officer. It was that shot that permanently paralyzed him, according to his attorneys.
It cannot be discerned how many shots were fired in total, but at least two of the officers fired their service weapons.
Two of the officers involved are Detectives Andrew Weiss and Christopher Bornheimer of the NBPD. The third member of the team was not identified, but NBPD Captain William Milligan said he rides regularly with NBPD as part of an agreement with the Sheriff's Department.
As we reported in January, the shooting occurred just one block from the backyard where an unarmed 46-year-old man, Barry Deloatch, was killed by police four months earlier.
Tormel Pittman, an activist who has organized anti-violence protests in the wake of the shootings said, "Any law enforcement officer should be embarrassed to watch that video... These officers are aggressive and incompetent."
Pittman has been vocal about requiring more stringent drug testing for city police officers.
When the Rodriguez family came to a City Council meeting in February to demand justice, city attorneys disrespected Victor's cousin Maritza, who said she was "losing faith in the government."
City Attorney William Hamilton is shown on video taking a telephone call as Maritza Rodriguez spoke about her paralyzed cousin and the family's struggle for justice.
Editor's Note: The author of this article is an independent candidate for New Brunswick City Council in the general election. He has advocated for the Rodriguez family and other victims of police violence.