New Jersey police officer charged with shooting and wounding unarmed fugitive


New Jersey’s chief law enforcement official said Monday he had filed a criminal complaint against a police officer, saying he shot a fugitive in the back and seriously injured him.

Attorney General Matthew Platkin said the state prosecuted Second-degree aggravated assault and official misconduct against Police Officer Patterson Jerry Moravec.

The indictment stems from an incident in June 2022, in which Moravek saw a victim, not identified in the indictment documents, walk past him shortly after hearing gunshots. Moravec yelled for him to drop his gun before firing and punched him in the back.

police suspicion
Matt Platkin speaks February 3, 2020 in Trenton, NJ.

Mike Catarini / AP

Platkin said the person did not have a gun and was not within reach. A firearm was found near the scene of the shooting, according to indictment documents, but Platkin said there was no DNA or fingerprint evidence linking it to the man.

“We promised never to be complacent with the status quo and to stand up to the needless and excessive use of force by those who have a duty to protect our people,” Platkin said.

Moravek’s attorney, Patrick Caserta, said in a statement that his client had been falsely accused.

“During a short-leg chase, there came a time when Officer Moravec believed that his life and the lives of others in the street were in danger. was about to fire that handgun, and he and he realized that if he missed, the bullet could hit someone nearby,” the statement read.

Moravec then called an ambulance repeatedly, Caserta added.

A video released from the incident shows Moravec asking the person he shot why he fled.

“I was scared. I don’t have a gun,” he said.

Platkin said the officer did not give the person he shot a warning to fire, stop running or get off the ground.

Platkin said the shooting left a shrapnel in his spine. According to billing documents, he has not been able to walk since.

If convicted, Moravec could face up to 10 years in prison on each count.

Mayor Paterson Andre Seigue said in a statement A preliminary review found that Moravec was following guidelines while responding to service calls and after gunshots were heard. He said he would not comment further.

He was indicted after New Jersey tried to increase scrutiny of police officers involved in the shooting. In late 2020, Platkin’s predecessor issued new rules for the use of force against civilians, except as a last resort, among other requirements.

In 2019, New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill requiring the state attorney general to conduct an investigation if police shoot someone dead.

Murphy’s appointee, Platkin, said Monday’s indictment did not stem from that statute and would not require the case to be brought to a grand jury, but his office said it would be unlikely in a case like this. “Don’t hesitate” to do it.

“We determined that all incidents merited a thorough investigation and that the use of lethal force was not justified,” Platkin said. “The young man’s life will never be the same again because of this police officer’s needless actions. It is against his police training and his oath to protect and preserve lives.”

Paterson is a city of approximately 160,000 people located about 20 miles (30 km) west of Manhattan.

Last year, Patterson was named one of the 100. most dangerous city According to crime data analyzed by


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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