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Civil rights group seeks investigation of fatal police shooting

A civil rights group is calling for a grand jury investigation into the death of a New Jersey man who was shot by two police officers after allegedly attempting to escape from a police department building. The prosecutor and the police department, however, claim that they have reviewed the incident and deny that the officers acted improperly.

According to police reports, the 19-year-old man was being booked on domestic violence charges in the processing room of the Garfield Police Department when he ran out the rear door. Several members of the Garfield and Bergen County police forces, including a K-9 unit, pursued the man.

He was eventually found in a garage near the department. Police were reportedly unable to ender the garage's side door, but opened the bay door and found the man inside. The man had allegedly armed himself with various tools found inside the garage. When police saw the tools in the man's hands, they fired at him multiple times. He suffered massive injuries, and was later pronounced dead at Hackensack Medical Center.

Now, the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, a civil rights group, is raising questions about the shooting and the events leading up to it. The group recently released a statement accusing the Bergen County Prosecutor's office of having "systemic unresolved issues" regarding the internal review of incidents involving police officers' use of force. The group is calling for a grand jury investigation into the shooting to determine whether it was justified.

The family of the deceased man is also reportedly planning to file a wrongful death lawsuit against various parties involved in the incident.

Source: NJ.com, "Civil rights group wants probe into death of Garfield man killed while fleeing police," S.P. Sullivan, Dec. 15, 2011

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