Attorney General’s Office Releases Video Footage of Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting in Buena Vista

NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal recommends that Elizabeth Police Director James Cosgrove resign his position after the Union County Prosecutor’s Office completed a two-month internal affairs investigation into allegations of racist and misogynistic conduct by Cosgrove.
The Attorney General’s Office today released video recordings related to the death of Roy K. Jackel, Jr., 41, of Wildwood Crest, N.J., who died on April 5, 2021, when Sgt. David Jernegen of the Franklin Township Police Department fired his service weapon at him, fatally wounding him.
The fatal incident remains under investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA). The recordings from mobile video recorders (MVRs) in police vehicles are being released pursuant to policies established by the Attorney General in 2019 that are designed to promote the fair, impartial, and transparent investigation of fatal police encounters. The Attorney General’s Office also released audio recordings of police communications related to the incident. There is no body worn camera footage of the incident. Prior to today’s release, investigators provided the recordings to the decedent’s representative and relatives for their review.
According to the preliminary investigation, the shooting occurred at approximately 3:00 p.m. near Cumberland Avenue and Oak Road in Buena Vista, N.J. Officers of the Franklin Township Police Department initially responded as mutual aid to investigate a motor vehicle accident involving Mr. Jackel at Cumberland Road and Tuckahoe Road in Buena Vista. During the investigation, Mr. Jackel ran from the scene into a wooded area. He subsequently returned to the scene, entered an unoccupied marked police vehicle, and drove away. After a brief pursuit, Mr. Jackel stopped the stolen police vehicle. He exited the vehicle and ran toward the officers, holding his arm behind his back and ignoring their commands to show his hands. As Mr. Jackel neared the officers, Sgt. Jernegan discharged his firearm, striking Mr. Jackel. Officers provided medical aid to Mr. Jackel until emergency medical personnel arrived. Mr. Jackel was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical personnel at approximately 4:11 p.m.
The video recordings are posted online: Click here for recordings.
This 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 all 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. Separately, the Independent Prosecutor Directive, which was issued by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal in December 2019, outlines a 10-step process for conducting these investigations. The Directive establishes clear procedures governing such investigations to ensure that they are conducted in a full, impartial and transparent manner. Under both state law and the 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.
A copy of the Directive is available at this link:
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