No global focus on J’can killed by cop in US days before Floyd’s death
The family of a Jamaican-born man is seeking justice after he was shot dead during a routine traffic stop by a police trooper in New Jersey in the United States, just two days before the captivating death of George Floyd.
The incident occurred on May 23 along the Garden State Parkway in Bass River, New Jersey.
Maurice Gordon, a 28-year-old resident of Poughkeepsie, New York, was raised in Spanish Town, Jamaica. At age 19, he migrated to the US, where his father was living, according to a US-based news website, NJ.com.
Tragedy struck when Gordon, who was unarmed, was allegedly shot multiple times by a white trooper after he reportedly removed his seatbelt a number of times while he sat in the trooper's car.
According to Gordon's family attorney, William O Wagstaff III, on the day in question, the Jamaican native was stopped by the trooper for reportedly committing a speeding violation. When the trooper asked Gordon to drive his car to a different spot on the highway, the car would not start. The trooper then called for a tow truck, the attorney stated in an interview with NJ.com.
“Mr Gordon did not want to remain in his vehicle, so he was invited by the trooper to sit in the back of the trooper’s vehicle,” Wagstaff said, adding that Gordon had been searched for weapons and none was found.
“Once in the back of the trooper’s vehicle, he was made to sit there for more than 30 minutes without any information being provided, not being issued a ticket, and there was no indication (that) he was under arrest,” Wagstaff told NJ.com.
The attorney said Gordon twice removed his seatbelt and put it back on as the trooper instructed.
But the third time, Gordon apparently removed the seatbelt and tried to get out of the vehicle. The e trooper "got physical with him and eventually shot him multiple times," Wagstaff told the US media website.
The trooper then handcuffed the bleeding Jamaican native, the attorney stated.
Gordon's mother, Racquel Barrett, and his sister, Yanique Gordon, who both reside in England, journeyed to the United States in search of justice for their slain loved one.
But the family is said to be not receiving the answers they are seeking from the police authorities there, who have reportedly told the family's attorney that the matter is still under investigation.
Speaking from a hotel in Poughkeepsie, New York, Gordon's sister, Yanique, told NJ.com that the family deserved answers, as her brother was "innocent".
The family also wanted answers about why it was problematic for Gordon to leave the trooper's vehicle, since he had not been ticketed or arrested.
"He (Maurice Gordon) didn’t do drugs. He didn’t hang out with the wrong crowd... He did not come all the way from Jamaica to die at the hands of someone else," Yanique was quoted as saying in her interview with NJ.com.
Meanwhile, Gordon's mother lamented that she would never see her son get married or have children.
Additionally, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the grieving mother is aware that she is unlikely to see her deceased son in a suit before he is cremated, and to have her family say goodbye to him at a funeral.
Maurice Gordon was enrolled at Dutchess Community College in New York, where he studied chemistry, and worked as a driver for UberEats, according to his mother.
In the meantime, the family’s attorney has been allowed to see a portion of a police video footage of the incident by the New Jersey Attorney General's office, which has the authority to probe police shootings.
A spokeswoman for the office said it is the policy to release videos typically within 20 days, once initial investigations are done, NJ.com reported.
Gordon's death came two days before that of African-American George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes during an arrest.
Despite the arrest and charge of four officers in relation to Floyd's death, which has now been classified as a murder, global protests have erupted against police abuses and racial inequalities under the banner of the 'Black Lives Matter' movement.
Jamaicans have also joined the global movement, with a peaceful protest staged in front of the United States Embassy in Liguanea, St Andrew on Saturday.
However, Gordon's death has sadly not caught the public's attention in the US, leaving mainly his family to try to get justice for the Jamaican native.