The New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s volunteer networks, today released the following statement on the death of Maurice Gordon, an unarmed Black man who was allegedly shot at least four times and killed by New Jersey state police on May 28 while waiting for a tow truck after his car wouldn’t start following a traffic stop.
“Our thoughts are with Maurice’s family and the communities who experience the disproportionate impact of gun violence on a daily basis,” said Shani Nuckols, volunteer leader with New Jersey Moms Demand Action. “If we want to end gun violence and its disproportionate impact on Black and brown people, we need to eradicate the systemic racism in our policing and legal systems across the country.”
“Routines that should not require a second thought – a traffic stop, jogging on a street, just going about your daily life – are far too often deadly for Black people in America,” said Laurence Fine, volunteer leader with Bergen County Students Demand Action. “Any life lost to gun violence is a tragedy. Maurice Gordon’s family deserves a thorough, transparent investigation.”
The New Jersey Attorney General’s office has indicated that it will release initial findings from its investigation, as well as some recordings, this week. The New York Daily News reported that an official document released by the New Jersey Attorney General’s office alleges that Gordon attempted to take the unnamed trooper’s gun and tried to steal his police vehicle, though that form omitted the name of the officer involved. As prosecutors continue to look into the Gordon case, Everytown for Gun Safety joins with the community to call for a full and transparent investigation.
Black people in the United States are far more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts, and data from The Guardian shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns. According to Mapping Police Violence, Black Americans are shot and killed by police at three times the rate of white Americans, and 101 people have been fatally shot by police between 2013 and 2019 in New Jersey.
Research finds that meaningful use of force policies reduce police shootings. By encouraging de-escalation, utilizing early intervention systems, and ensuring that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable, use of force policies can ensure that laws help advance safety and promote trust in the police.