Surveillance footage has revealed the moment a New Jersey plainclothes cop in an unmarked police car shot dead an unarmed black man on New Year’s Day.
Carl Dorsey III, 39, died in the early hours of January 1 after being shot by Newark Police Detective Rod Simpkins near Woodlawn Avenue and South 11th Street in Newark.
Officers, including Simpkins, had reportedly arrived on the scene after hearing gunshots fired in the area.
Security camera video released by New Jersey’s attorney general Thursday shows Dorsey running across the street as Simpkins exits an unmarked police car.
They appear to collide with each other before Simpkins turns and shoots Dorsey dead.
The video is the only footage so far found of the incident. There is no dashcam or bodycam footage from the killing because New Jersey state law does not require plainclothes officers to use them.
The state’s Attorney General’s Office, which is investigating the fatal shooting, said no weapon was recovered from Dorsey or from the immediate area.
It has also emerged that Simpkins, an 18-year veteran of the Newark force, was named in a 2009 lawsuit claiming he and other plainclothes cops pulled over a black football coach and two children, pointed guns at them, and told them ‘you have no f**king rights’
Dorsey’s death marks the latest in number of of cop killings of black people across America in recent months amid calls for justice and an end to systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
Surveillance footage has revealed the moment a New Jersey plainclothes cop in an unmarked police car shot dead an unarmed black man on New Year’s Day
Police said officers were called to the area of Woodland Avenue and South 11th Street at 12:03 a.m. January 1 after hearing gunfire.
The security footage of the incident starts with a view of the empty street.
A person walking on the sidewalk closest to the camera starts to come into view from the left as lights from an approaching vehicle appear from the right.
The pedestrian appears to step back and is no longer visible on camera as the car comes into full view and slams to a halt in the road.
At this point, a man – identified as Dorsey – runs from the area the pedestrian was last seen across the road in front of the car.
At the same time a man – identified as Simpkins – leaps out of the right side of car and runs toward him.
The two appear to bump into each other at the front right end of the car.
Dorsey manages to run past Simpkins heading between the gap in two parked cars toward the far sidewalk.
At the same time, the officer turns and points a gun at him as he stumbles to the ground.
Simpkins fires his weapon and Dorsey falls to the ground, where he is no longer visible between the cars.
The officer gets to his feet and walks toward Dorsey as two more officers emerge from the car.
Four more officers then run on screen from further back up the road passing the area of the shooting and heading down the street.
Carl Dorsey III, 39, (above) died in the early hours of January 1 after being shot by Newark Police Detective Rod Simpkins near Woodlawn Avenue and South 11th Street in Newark
Simpkins is still stood over Dorsey on the ground.
He then walks away in the direction of the other officers.
They all disappear off screen before someone walks back up the sidewalk and appears to bend down toward the victim.
A group of officers also walk back and gather around where the man is lying on the ground.
During the 1 minute 46 second footage, no one is seen administering medical assistance.
Dorsey was taken to University Hospital in Newark, where he was pronounced dead at 1:37 a.m.
The Attorney General’s Office has confirmed Simpkins was in plainclothes and was in an unmarked police vehicle when he arrived on the scene.
There is no audio in the security footage so it is not clear if he announced his presence as a law enforcement before firing his weapon.
No bodycam or dashcam footage exists and the security footage is the only video obtained by investigators to date of the deadly shooting, the attorney general’s office said.
It is not clear how many times Simpkins discharged his weapon or how many bullets struck Dorsey.
Protesters have called for Simpkins to face charges for the unarmed black man’s death.
Authorities previously said two firearms were recovered at the scene and that shots had been heard in the area prior to the shooting.
Another man – James Murphy – was arrested in the area around the time of Dorsey’s killing, according to court documents obtained by NJ.com.
The documents say Jamar Murphy was found in possession of a gun and was arrested at the scene on weapons charges.
Officers had reportedly arrived on the scene after hearing gunshots fired in the area. The security footage of the incident starts with a view of the empty street
A person walking on the sidewalk closest to the camera starts to come into view from the left as lights from an approaching vehicle appear from the right. The pedestrian appears to step back and is no longer visible on camera as the car comes into full view and slams to a halt
Dorsey runs across the road in front of the car as Simpkins leaps out of the right side of car and runs toward him. The two appear to bump into each other (left) Dorsey manages to run past Simpkins but the officer turns and shoots him dead (right)
The criminal complaint in this case says police were patrolling Avon Avenue, about a block from Woodlawn Avenue, when they heard gunfire and headed in its direction to the area of South 11th Street and Woodland Avenue.
It says officers arrived to see ‘numerous individuals gathering in the area, and saw numerous muzzle flashes’.
‘As the officers arrived, all the individuals attempted to flee the area,’ it says.
An officer says in the complaint that he saw Murphy with a gun and identified himself as police, but that Murphy fled and got rid of the weapon.
But Murphy’s attorney Robert DeGroot denies he was armed and says the charges are ‘an attempt to create a diversion and subterfuge to cover the senseless and reckless killing of an unarmed citizen’.
In the wake of Dorsey’s death, activists are calling for plainclothes officers to be ordered to wear bodycameras.
Most Newark police officers are required to wear bodycameras, but plainclothes cops – as well as those in administrative and investigative roles – are exempt.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka has also called on the police department to consider expanding the use of bodycameras to plainclothes units.
More officers then run on screen from further back up the road passing the area of the shooting and heading down the street
An officer is seen standing over Dorsey on the ground after he was shot by the officer
‘We will be requesting that our Public Safety Director look into expanding the use of body cameras to include plainclothes units as well.’
Baraka called the footage ‘tragic, disturbing, yet incomplete’.
It has emerged that, in 2009, Simpkins was the subject of a lawsuit.
The suit said he was part of a group of six plainclothes cops who pulled over football coach Kelvin James who was driving in his car with two teenage boy players in June 2008.
The officers then allegedly approached them with their guns drawn, pulled them out of the car, and began verbally abusing them.
‘You have no f**king rights. We’re the cops, we do whatever we f**ing want,’ they allegedly told the three black males.
The suit says the cops then conducted a non-consensual car search, finding only football equipment.
The suit was later settled. It was part of the petition filed by the New Jersey ACLU to the US Department of Justice to carry out an investigation into the Newark Police Department.
The probe later found a pattern of unconstitutional practices in the department.
In 2016, Newark agreed to a list of reforms to the police department and a civilian complaint review board was established.
The attorney general’s office is leading the investigation into Dorsey’s death in light of a 2019 law that requires county prosecutors to turn over probes into police-involved shootings.
The mayor said he wants a Civilian Complaint Review to be launched alongside the AG’s investigation.
‘We will be asking the Attorney General’s Office to turn over information to our consent decree unit to review if the use of force or any other policy was violated,’ Baraka said.
‘We will also ask that all information be turned over to our Civilian Complaint Review Board to investigate and provide recommendations.’
The police union has pushed back on this saying it would interfere with the investigation.
‘I have called the AG office today requesting they investigate the mayor for interfering with this matter by his statement today,’ Stewart said.
‘He is not a law enforcement officer and has zero business attempting to influence the direction it goes.
‘The cops in Newark now know for a fact that the administration does not support them, and that’s a sad day for the people of this city.’
Dorsey’s death marks the latest cop killing of black men and women in the last year.
Protests erupted across America and further afield after Floyd’s ‘murder’ on Memorial Day 2020 after white cop Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
EMT Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot six times in March when three plainclothes officers performed a botched raid at her Louisville apartment.
In June, unarmed father Rayshard Brooks was shot dead while he ran from cops in the drive-thru of a Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta.
Then, in August, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a white cop in front of his three young children, leaving the father-of-six paralyzed from the waist down.