New Jersey Police Shoot Unarmed Black Man In Front Of His 9-Year-Old Sons
© Tom Laybourne (Henry Donald)

A Paterson, New Jersey man is in critical condition after being shot by police officers following a heated encounter with his brother.

Larry “Sincere” Bouie was reportedly traveling with his girlfriend Tasha Wade and their two young sons when their car battery died just as they approached a nearby police station on Saturday. Wade told the Paterson Times that Bouie then went to search for help and ran into his brother, who was selling t-shirts on a nearby street. When his brother refused his request for help, Wade claims Bouie became “emotional” and began “acting crazy.” 

Wade suspected he smoked something that impacted his behavior. 

What happened next is a scene that’s become all too familiar to Black communities across the country.

“We tried to call an ambulance and calm him down, but couldn’t calm him,” Wade said. “Then a police [officer] came. She got out of the car, he was still acting crazy, she pulled out her gun, and she shot him.” Both Wade and Bouie’s brother Gregory also noted that the female officer did not ask any questions or say anything to Bouie before opening fire. “She just ran up on him and shot him,” Bouie’s brother said. “She didn’t ask no questions or nothing.” 

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Wade also recounted the moments immediately after Bouie was shot, recalling how one of her 9-year-old twin sons tried to help his father off the ground as he lay bleeding. “My son tried to pick him up off the ground,” she said. “He was holding his stomach where the police shot him. He asked the police officer why did you shoot me. He tried to get up, but he couldn’t.”

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Activists, family members and the Paterson community as a whole are demanding more answers and justice for the senseless shooting, as Bouie continues to fight for his life at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center. The Black Lives Matter organization has started a petition calling for the release of the dash cam footage of the shooting as well as the name of the officer who opened fire. The petition also addresses the need for additional training for police officers on how to better handle encounters involving people with mental health issues.

At present, no one has been charged in the shooting, with little detail about the investigation’s findings made public by the Passaic County Prosecutor’s office, which is handling the case.