The Alliance for Police Accountability is deeply disappointed in Tuesday’s findings by District Attorney Stephen Zappala, Jr. in relation to the Port Authority Police killing of Bruce Kelley, Jr. on January 31, 2016.
Mr. Kelley, like all citizens of our county and nation, was entitled to peaceful and productive interaction with police officers whose duty it is to protect and serve. Instead, he became one of over 400 people shot to death by police in this country this year.
Mr. Kelley was among the most vulnerable of our citizens; He suffered from severe mental health issues, which were apparent from even the most cursory review of any footage related to the incident.
Instead of being treated professionally by the Port Authority Police, he was pursued as he tried to avoid confrontation, subjected to an assault by a dog who was trained to attack, and then mowed down in a hail of police bullets.
Mr. Kelley’s death is representative of the obvious lack of training by the Port Authority Police and the blatant disregard for the mentally ill and Black life.
To add insult to injury, Tuesday’s findings by District Attorney Zappala refused to honor the humanity of the situation. Instead, it was a typical rubber stamp that preserves, at all costs, the relationship between police and prosecutors to the detriment of poor people, and people of color, on a daily basis all over the country. Mr. Kelley deserved better.
Even as these findings are being released, District Attorney Zappala has blocked the Kelley family from having access to the autopsy report that might provide answers for the shooting that he claims to be justified.
We urge Zappala to end the obfuscation, derailment, and secrecy. Allow Mr. Kelley’s family immediate access to the autopsy report!
The Alliance For Police Accountability is a grassroots organization dedicated to criminal justice reconstruction, specializing in community/police relations. Our process of reflection, deliberation, and action is rooted in the voice of the community. As such, we will take the District Attorney’s findings to the community and decide our next course of action. In the meantime, we urge the community to remain vigilant and to continue to raise your voice in protest of police and prosecutorial abuses.
Brandi S Fisher