NEWARK, NJ — Video captured by a nearby security camera of a Newark Police Division officer fatally shooting a man was released by the New Jersey Attorney General on Thursday, but a lack of body or dash camera footage has investigators seeking help to find answers.
Moments after midnight on New Year’s Day, Det. Rod Simpkins, an 18-year veteran of NPD, fatally shot 39-year-old Carl Dorsey III of South Orange. Simpkins was in plainclothes at the time of the shooting, but few other details have emerged.
The footage released Friday shows Simpkins’ unmarked vehicle stop in the street near Woodland Avenue followed by Simpkins exiting the vehicle. Shortly after, Dorsey runs toward Simpkins and the two collide, falling to the ground. Simpkins appears to pull out his weapons and shoot Dorsey as he is falling.
Officers then appear to rush to the scene to deliver medical aid to Dorsey. Dorsey was later transported to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 1:37 a.m. No weapons were recovered from his person or the area where he was shot, but other handguns are said to have been recovered from the scene.
The footage was released according to new policies put in place by the Attorney General’s Office in 2019 meant to increase transparency around investigations of fatal police incidents. The AG said in a statement that investigators interviewed Dorsey’s relatives to review the footage as well as aspects of the investigation.
Typically, officers with the NPD use body and dash cams, but plainclothes units are not necessarily required to wear them. The detective is still on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.
Mayor Ras Baraka said that he found the information to be tragic and disturbing, but that leaves gaps in what occurred. The city is asking Anthony Ambrose, the Director of Public Safety, to look into expanding body cams for plain clothes officers.
“While the Attorney General’s Office is conducting an ongoing investigation, we are asking the public’s help to fill in some gaps,” Baraka said in a statement. "We will be asking the Attorney General’s Office to turn over information to our consent decree unit to review if the use of force or any other policy was violated. We will also ask that all information be turned over to our Civilian Complaint Review Board to investigate and provide recommendations.”
Members of the public who have information about the shooting on Jan. 1 should contact 1-844-OPIA-TIP.