January 1, 1998
September 30, 2016
Age at Death:
Najier Salaam was from Newark, NJ. His mother, Ms. Quanna Rollins, said this of him: "He was a very lovable child, He loved hard. He loved his immediate family. He had a beautiful heart. He would give you the shirt off his back." He was described by a friend as "talented, smart and a good dude."
An off-duty police officer radioed HQ he was following 3 suspects in a vehicle – including Mr. Salaam - as the suspects were wanted in connection with at least two armed robberies that took place earlier that morning. Concurrent with this, authorities had dispatched 5 Newark police officers to the same area the off-duty officer was following the suspects. While the two police teams converged in pursuit of the suspects, the vehicle began to attempt to evade police, nearly hitting one officer on foot. One officer thought he heard a gunshot, so he fired his weapon in the direction of the driver, fatally wounding Mr. Salaam, and one of the other suspects, also an 18 year old black teen named George Richards-Meyers, also of Newark. The third suspect exited the car and was later apprehended. Surveillance later showing the suspects hiding a black pellet gun resembling a handgun prior to the encounter with police. No other firearm was recovered from the suspects or their vehicle.
Was justice served?
No. As of March 9, 2017, a grand jury declined to indict the officers for the shooting deaths of the two 18 year olds, including Mr. Salaam. But, the six officers fired into the vehicle of three unarmed individuals suspected of a crime. Could they have incapacitated the vehicle first? There was no report of any attempt to negotiate with the individuals and one of them was able to be apprehended. Source: