PATERSON, NJ - As hundreds gathered in front of Paterson City Hall on Tuesday to call for justice for Jameek Lowery Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and Mayor Andre Sayegh released statements laying out the timeline of events that they say culminated in the death of the 27-year old father of three.
Lowery was pronounced dead in the early hours of Monday at St Joseph’s University Medical Center after an unusual set of circumstances that began at approximately 2:47 a.m. when he called 911 requesting an ambulance to his home at 135 Godwin Street.
In that call, a copy of which was obtained via OPRA request by TAPinto Paterson, Lowery told the dispatcher that he “took too many Ecstasy pills” and was “paranoid.”
Sayegh’s statement reports that an ambulance was dispatched to the residence by the Paterson Fire Department at 2:48 a.m. and arrived at the home at 2:57 a.m. Lowery was “accepted” at the hospital at 3:04 a.m. the report continues.
Lowery, Valdes’ statement picks up, “left the hospital at sometime after becoming erratic at the hospital."
Just 40 minutes later, according to both statements and confirmed via audio, Lowery placed a second call to 911 from the Wendy’s on Broadway. “I need help, they’re trying to kill me,” he claimed before hanging up.
Immediately after placing this call Lowery walked to Paterson Police Headquarters where he made a third 911 call after he appeared on Facebook Live making a second claim that unnamed individuals were trying to kill him.
Within minutes of Lowery’s arrival at Police Headquarters, officers requested an ambulance with Paterson Fire Department EMTs arriving at approximately 3:55. At this point, Sayegh’s statement continued, Lowery walked to the ambulance and was transported back to Saint Joseph’s, a journey that records indicate took just over three minutes.
Valdes’ statement adds that “police used physical force and compliance holds to secure Mr. Lowery in the ambulance,” but that upon arrival “hospital records indicate no acute trauma.”
As the crowd of protestors moved from the steps and courtyard in front of Paterson City Hall to a march that took them around the building, emotions ran high with a mixture of sadness and anger, and a tense standoff between them and Paterson police officers ensued for several minutes, ending finally when Police Director Jerry Speziale intervened and, after speaking with protest organizers, got the crowd to begin marching again.
The rally continued for several hours and could be heard from the third floor City Council Chambers as members of Lowery’s family, including both of his parents, a sister, and a brother spoke about their deceased loved one’s untimely death. While Council President Martiza Davila asked speakers several times to be mindful of their language and to uphold a certain decorum in the chambers she allowed them to speak freely beyond the three minute limit usually imposed during public comment sessions.
“I want justice,” Lowery’s mother Patrice King stated. “I’m not going anywhere until I get the truth.”
Several of the speakers directed their comments directly to Sayegh who sat stoically throughout never taking his attention away from those addressing him. Sayegh repeated a statement he made earlier on Tuesday that he met the victim in late December. “I was so encouraged by our conversation,” Sayegh said, that he extended an open invitation for the man to visit him in the Mayor’s Office.
“We want facts, not just answers,” Sayegh said. “Accurate answers.”
“We will get these answers.”
While Council Vice President Michael Jackson and Councilman Bill McKoy offered their continued support of the Paterson Police Department both also pointed to what the body’s longest serving member referred to as a “collective reality.”
“We’re in a broken system,” McKoy lamented after Jackson suggested that “the treatment of our community must be raised,” and urged the family and all that were moved by the events that have transpired in the past days to “stay diligent.”
With few answers available due to the ongoing investigation currently in the hands of the Valdes’ office all are left waiting for autopsy results, being conducted by the State of New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of Lowery’s death.
“We will get the truth,” Speziale said. Until then, he asked “we need peace in the city.”
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