IRVINGTON — An Essex County Grand Jury has declined to indict three police officers in the fatal 2013 shooting of a city man, Acting County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today.
“This is truly a tragic case but the grand jury has concluded that there is no probable cause to return an indictment,” Murray said in a statement about the decision in the shooting death of 30-year-old Irvington man Abdul Kamal.
“We respect that decision. This ends our role in this case.”
Authorities have declined to release the names of the three officers involved in the shooting, “because of concern for their safety.” The three officers are currently on active duty with the Irvington Police Department, Murray said.
According to prosecutors, the three officers fired 15 shots at Kamal on Nov. 11, 2013, after the man allegedly broke into his estranged wife’s home and threatened police. Thirteen of the bullets struck him, authorities said.
Kamal broke into the Stanley Street apartment at around 2 a.m., authorities said. According to the prosecutor’s office, Kamal had a history of domestic violence, and his wife had recently obtained a restraining order against him.
Authorities said Kamal threatened responding police officers, and refused to remove his hands from his pockets. Officers also sprayed him with pepper spray, but the verbal exchange continued, officials said.
During the confrontation with officers, Kamal began to remove his right hand from his pocket while threatening to shoot police, Murray said in the release today. Three of the six officers at the scene shot at him, she said.
He died at the scene, authorities said. He was later found to be unarmed, with only a cell phone in his pocket, authorities said.
At the time of the shooting, the three officers had been on the force for four, nine, and 18 years, authorities said.
Kamal had a criminal history; he had served a short stint in prison on drug distribution charges. In 2011, he was arrested on aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and weapons offenses. He pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and served one month in prison under a plea agreement.
Kamal’s family has maintained that he was intoxicated during his fatal altercation with police, and that he struggled with mental health issues.
Last year, his family joined forces with civil rights group the People’s Organization for Progress to demand a federal investigation into whether or not Kamal’s civil rights were violated during the interaction. Family members have also expressed doubt that the three officers would be properly investigated by the grand jury.
“If the (federal) government takes it, that it would be fair. With the local, I don’t know who’s friends with who,” Kamal’s mother, Michele, said in an interview last year. “That’s what I want, I want fair. I want justice.”