August 13, 2015

Watson Coleman Statement on AG Investigation of Radazz Hearns Shooting

For Immediate Release

Ewing, NJ (August 13, 2015) ― Today, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) issued the following statement on the New Jersey Attorney General’s office continuing investigation into Friday’s shooting of Radazz Hearns by New Jersey State Troopers and a Mercer County Sheriff’s Officer:

“It is tragic to see any young person injured by gunfire, so I am deeply relieved at reports that Radazz is in stable condition, and I pray for his speedy and full recovery.  Moving forward, I am committed to uncovering the details of this shooting, and I look forward to facilitating conversations between law enforcement and our community to shed light on these events.

“Public safety is my primary and imminent concern; the public must have full confidence in the investigatory agencies that are tasked with uncovering the truth. I have been in communication with Attorney General Hoffman, Sherriff Kemler and Mayor Jackson. While they each have committed to and desire a thorough and transparent investigation, the lack of information to the public has resulted in public faith quickly eroding, requiring swift action to regain the confidence of the community. As such, I have requested a federal investigation so that the public can have additional independent assurances that we will find the truth. Moving forward we need to seek ways to prevent cases like these, but also ensure that when they do occur, the community has a voice in the process.

“Across the United States, a number of unexplained and unnecessary deaths precipitated by interactions with law enforcement over the past several months have shaken our nation's trust in police and the criminal justice system.  When these cases are addressed swiftly with transparency and decisiveness, as in the Cincinnati shooting of Samuel DuBose, we restore faith in the process.  When there is no communication, the public frequently feels misled and we see the kind of disruption and violence witnessed in Ferguson or Baltimore. By giving the public a vested interest in maintaining the legitimacy of investigations like this one, we can work together to guarantee that objective justice remains our goal.”