A New Jersey grand jury has decided not to indict Newark Police Detective Rod Simpkins in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man named Carl Dorsey on New Year’s Day 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. The decision last week came after an investigation by the state attorney general into Dorsey’s death has dragged out, even though his family says the facts are clear: He was shot dead by Simpkins, who was undercover and in an unmarked police minivan and in plainclothes when he arrived at the scene after reportedly hearing gunshots. Within seconds of exiting his car, Simpkins fired his gun at Dorsey, and it is unclear if he first announced himself as a police officer. Now Larry Hamm, chair of the People’s Organization for Progress, says he and the family of Dorsey are calling for the U.S. attorney to launch a civil rights investigation into his death.
AMY GOODMAN: Larry Hamm, today you’re holding a news conference about the New Jersey state grand jury’s decision last week not to indict the police detective Rod Simpkins in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man named Carl Dorsey New Year’s Day 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. The investigation into his death has dragged out, even though his family says the facts are clear. They say he was shot dead by the officer, Simpkins, who was undercover — unmarked car, minivan, plainclothes — when he arrived at the scene after reportedly hearing gunshots. Within seconds of exiting his car, Simpkins fired the gun at Dorsey. Even unclear if he first announced himself as a police officer. Can you talk about why you’re holding this news conference today?
LARRY HAMM: Yes, Amy. Thank you for bringing that up. And, you know, we have Tyre — what happened to Tyre Nichols happens every day in America to a Black person somewhere. Every community has a Tyre Nichols. And one of the Tyre Nichols in New Jersey is Carl Dorsey.
Carl Dorsey was unarmed. This is an indisputable fact. No one disputes the fact that Carl Dorsey was unarmed when he was shot and killed at near-point-blank range by Detective Rod Simpkins of the Newark Police Department.
In New Jersey, we have this independent prosecutor bill, where if a police — if a local police person kills someone, then the state attorney general must take over that investigation. The state attorney general had this case for two years, and we didn’t hear anything publicly. And then, this week, almost on the same day that the officers that killed Tyre Nichols were charged, that day, the grand jury came back with no bill, no indictment for the officer that killed Carl Dorsey.
So, today at 11 a.m., together with the family members of Carl Dorsey, their attorney, Robert Tarver, we’re going to have a press conference at 11 a.m. in front of the Rodino Federal Building in Newark, 970 Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey, to demand that the U.S. attorney, the United States attorney for the District of New Jersey, Philip Sellinger —
AMY GOODMAN: We have five seconds.
LARRY HAMM: — launch a — launch a civil rights investigation into the death of Carl Dorsey.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Larry Hamm, chair of the People’s Organization for Progress, and DeRay Mckesson, civil rights activist, executive director of Campaign Zero, thank you so much. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks for joining us.