TRENTON – The Attorney General’s Office today released two 911 calls, radio communications and video footage from a body worn camera related to the death of a man who was the subject of a police response that occurred on October 2, 2021, in Paterson, N.J. The decedent has been identified as Jose Gonzalez, 41, of Paterson:
The death remains under investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA). The recordings are being released in response to an OPRA request and pursuant to policies established by the Attorney General in 2019 that are designed to promote the fair, impartial, and transparent investigation of fatal police encounters. Investigators met today with Mr. Gonzalez’s family to review the recordings.
According to the preliminary investigation, at approximately 5:26 p.m. on October 2, 2021, the Paterson Police Department received multiple 911 calls from the 600 block of Madison Avenue Paterson, N.J., regarding a man walking on the roof and attempting to break into a residence. Officers of the Paterson Police Department and medical personnel responded to the area of 620 Madison Avenue and encountered Mr. Gonzalez, who appeared injured and incoherent at the exterior rear of the residence. Two officers, Sgt. Angelo Gencarelli and Officer Rocco Galiano of the Paterson Police Department, attempted to aid Mr. Gonzalez. Mr. Gonzalez was agitated and officers briefly handcuffed him to permit them to secure him and get him onto a stretcher. Medical and police personnel placed Mr. Gonzalez on the stretcher and he was taken to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased at 6:22 p.m.
The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.
This investigation is being conducted pursuant to a state law enacted in January 2019 (P.L. 2019, c.1), which requires that the Attorney General’s Office conduct all investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. Separately, the Independent Prosecutor Directive, which was issued in December 2019, outlines a 10-step process for conducting these investigations. The Directive establishes clear procedures governing such investigations to ensure that they are conducted in a full, impartial and transparent manner. Under both state law and the Directive, when the entire investigation is complete, the case will be presented to a grand jury, typically consisting of 16 to 23 citizens, to make the ultimate decision regarding whether criminal charges will be filed.