Bodycam footage shows Najee Seabrooks’ deadly encounter with Paterson Police, questions remain
With guns drawn, police are seen negotiating with Seabrooks. At times the 31-year-old Black man can be heard both complying and threatening to harm himself and officers.
Authorities released body camera footage depicting the shooting that killed Paterson, New Jersey violence intervention advocate Najee Seabrooks.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office released the footage Thursday afternoon, along with seven 911 calls from the more than five-hour interaction between Seabrooks and Paterson Police.
Phone calls show Seabrooks, who was experiencing a mental health episode, called police himself apparently afraid that he was in danger.
“I’ve received death threats,” Seabrooks told dispatchers. “I need help being escorted to my car.”
By the time police arrived on scene, Seabrooks had locked himself in a bathroom. Family members told officers Seabrooks was hallucinating and behaving erratically, according to a statement from the Attorney General’s office.
Throughout the footage, police are seen negotiating with Seabrooks, with guns drawn. At times the 31-year-old Black man can be heard both complying with police and threatening to harm himself and officers.
Authorities said police fired multiple rounds of rubber bullets at Seabrooks before he lunged at officers with a knife in hand. It’s difficult to make out exactly what happened at that point in the video released Thursday — police gear obstructs the view during much of the encounter.
Seabrooks’ death has spurred protests in Paterson and calls for reform across New Jersey.
The Attorney General’s office said it met with Seabrooks’ family to review the footage. The office said it continues to investigate.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. The hotline is staffed 24/7 by trained counselors who can offer free, confidential support. Spanish speakers can call 1-888-628-9454. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 1-800-799-4889.
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