Bridgeton, N.J., is dealing with yet another fatal police shooting of a Black man, and activists, and the community are demanding answers.
Reports indicate the latest victim is 23-year-old Darryl L. Fuqua, who went by the nickname “De Rose.” He was an aspiring rapper who recently landed a spot on New Jersey Got Talent, and he was scheduled to perform at the show this coming Saturday.
According to the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, Fuqua was with two friends when he was shot and killed by police Friday after a foot pursuit in which he ran into an alley. One of the officers discharged his weapon, shooting Fuqua twice in the back and once in the chest. Prosecutors say a weapon was recovered from the area.
Questions surround the shooting as Fuqua’s family and activists are questioning whether the weapon found even belonged to him. His mother, Gwen Benson, said that those at the scene said Fuqua and his friends ran when an officer pulled up on them and got out of his cruiser.
Benson said in one interview that she has not been permitted to see her son’s body.
“I asked to see my son and they said, ‘No, it’s under investigation,’” Benson said. “I have not yet been able to see my son. In my heart I’m still thinking this is a dream. Until I see my child dead, he might walk through that door.”
As the investigation moves forward, officials have not identified the officer who shot Fuqua. Law enforcement officials have only said that the officer has been on the force for five years and is on paid administrative leave pending the investigation.
Local civil rights group the National Awareness Alliance, headed by Walter L. Hudson Sr., sent letters to both Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly and Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McCrae demanding the name of the officer who shot and killed Fuqua and demanding that the investigation be handed over to the New Jersey State Attorney General.
“We strongly feel the best chance for the Mr. Darryl Fuqua to receive justice is the investigative duties are relinquished to the New Jersey Attorney General,” Hudson said in the letter. “So I strongly demand the officer who shot and killed Darryl Fuqua is publicized to Mr. Darryl Fuqua’s family and the community. I also strongly demand that Mrs. McCrae surrender the investigation of Mr. Darryl Fuqua to the New Jersey Attorney General.”
This incident is the second police shooting Bridgeton has dealt with in recent years. In 2015, Jerame Reid was fatally shot by Black officer Braheme Days, who claimed he saw a gun in the glove compartment of the vehicle in which Reid was riding. That incident was captured by the officer’s dashboard camera. A grand jury declined to charge the officers involved in Reid’s killing.