Police Killing of Najee Seabrooks is the Result of a Systemic Policy Failure

Najee Seabrooks should still be alive. Mental health crises should be met with trained professionals, not heavily armed police.

Published on Mar 16, 2023 in Public Safety

Earlier today, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General released body camera footage from the police killing of Najee Seabrooks, a violence intervention specialist with the Paterson Healing Collective, who called 9-1-1 while experiencing a mental health crisis. The video footage depicts multiple officers responding to the mental health crisis with guns drawn and pointed toward Najee. Minutes after officers stated, “Nobody is going to shoot you,” officers opened fire. In response to the release of the footage, New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) releases the following statement. 

Nicole Rodriguez, President, NJPP:

“Najee Seabrooks should be alive right now. This is not only tragic but the result of a systemic policy failure that had heavily armed police respond to a mental health crisis. What outcome should we expect when someone in crisis is met with police armed for war with their guns drawn? Our system failed Najee, just as it continues to fail our Black and brown neighbors who put their lives in jeopardy when they call 9-1-1 for help. State and local lawmakers must act with urgency so mental health crises are met with trained professionals, not armed police, and that people are connected to the care they need.”

For more information on, and examples of, alternatives to policing, read NJPP’s 2021 report, To Protect and Serve: Investing in Public Safety Beyond Policing.
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