State Grand Jury Declines to Criminally Charge Officer Involved in Fatal Shooting

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State Grand Jury Declines to Criminally Charge Officer Involved in Fatal Shooting in Millville, N.J. that Occurred on Jan. 4, 2022

 

TRENTON – A state grand jury has voted not to file any criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding the death of Daniel Ackley, 33, of Millville, N.J., who was fatally injured when Officer Timothy Rehmann of the Millville Police Department shot him on Jan. 4, 2022.

Mr. Ackley’s death was investigated by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to New Jersey residents serving on the state grand jury in accordance with the 2019 Independent Prosecutor Directive. In July 2021, OPIA issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure these grand jury presentations are conducted in a neutral, objective manner, with appropriate transparency regarding the process, consistent with the Directive.

The investigation included interviews of witnesses, review of body-worn camera footage, and autopsy results from the medical examiner. This evidence was presented to a state grand jury. After hearing the testimony and evidence, the grand jury concluded its deliberations Monday, July 17, 2023, and voted “no bill,” meaning the grand jury concluded no criminal charges should be filed against Officer Rehmann.

According to the investigation, the shooting occurred shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2022 outside a residence on Burns Road in Millville. Officers of the Millville Police Department responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting an emergency at the residence. After officers arrived, they encountered Mr. Ackley holding a machete outside the house. Mr. Ackley then advanced toward the officers with the machete and did not comply with the officers’ commands to drop the machete. During the encounter, one officer, Officer Rehmann, discharged his service weapon, fatally wounding Mr. Ackley. The body worn camera video shows that Mr. Ackley was advancing toward the officers with the machete in his hand at the time he was shot once in the stomach. Officers and emergency medical personnel rendered first aid to Mr. Ackley, and he was airlifted to Cooper University Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased at 10:56 p.m.

A 2019 law, P.L. 2019, c. 1, requires the Attorney General’s Office to 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. It requires that all such investigations be presented to a grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer or officers involved. The grand jury is instructed on the elements of the potential criminal offenses, including criminal homicide offenses, that could be brought and, as required by statutes, the grand jury is instructed on self-defense and other forms of legal justification.

A conflicts check was conducted pursuant to the Independent Prosecutor Directive and no actual or potential conflict of interest was found involving any individual assigned to the investigation. Prior to presentation to the grand jury, the investigation was reviewed by OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher in accordance with the policies and procedures established for these presentations in the SOPs.

At the conclusion of these investigations, pursuant to the Independent Prosecutor Directive and SOPs, OPIA determines whether any principal should be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for administrative review in accordance with the AG’s Internal Affairs Policy & Procedures. OPIA monitors any resulting review and takes such actions as are necessary to ensure that the review is completed in a timely fashion, and that appropriate actions are taken based on the results of the review.

The Independent Prosecutor Directive is posted on the Attorney General’s website at this link:

https://www.nj.gov/oag/dcj/agguide/directives/ag-Directive-2019-4.pdf

Further information about how fatal police encounters are investigated in New Jersey under the directive is found at this link: https://www.njoag.gov/independent-prosecutor/

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