Residents of Newark, New Jersey threw rocks at a police car and alleged police brutality recently after Newark detectives shot and killed resident Jose Quinonez.
Quinonez, 22, was the subject of an on-going drug investigation by Essex County Police. Two Essex detectives were outside Quinonez’s apartment last week when he walked out of his building with a loaded weapon. Each detective fired one shot each, killing Quinonez. Police recovered a loaded handgun and drugs from the man’s body.
But neighborhood witnesses claim police aren’t being honest about what happened on the morning Quinonez was killed. Several people told a reporter that the detectives hit Quinonez with their car and then shot him while he was on the ground.
“Why did you have to hit him with a car?” one witness shouted. “Why did you have to shoot him in the back?”
After seeing Quinonez killed, residents hurled rocks at several police squad cars. One man was arrested for smashing in the window of one of the cruisers.
Jamar Smith, a friend of Quinonez who witnessed the entire incident, told reporters that one of the detectives who shot Quinonez is well-known in the neighborhood and has a history of violent interactions with residents.
Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura disputes the claims of the witnesses and says his officer’s never look to use unnecessary violence on the job.
“These are experienced, seasoned officers who are good, good guys,” Fontoura said. “The last thing they want to do is take anybody’s life. They’re very traumatized. They’re not out here trying to take a life. If they take a life, they’re impacted tremendously. We don’t leave in the morning and start our work shifts looking to take somebody’s life.”