Attorney General Matt Platkin announced charges of aggravated assault and official misconduct today against Paterson police officer Jerry Moravek, who allegedly shot an unarmed man in the back in 2022.
“Our guidelines … require officers to use the least amount of force that is objectively reasonable and necessary under the circumstances, and to only use force as an absolute last resort,” Platkin said at a press conference. “Unfortunately, I believe that the allegations we are discussing today fall so far outside of these confines – shooting an unarmed man in the back, resulting in a serious injury – that criminal charges are appropriate.”
According to Platkin, body camera footage shows that Moravek engaged in a footchase with the victim on June 11, 2022; Moravek ordered the man to “drop the gun!” – a gun which was not recovered on or near him after the shooting – before firing two shots.
Platkin also acknowledged the sensitivity of the charges, which fit into a broader nationwide reckoning over police reform.
“This is a solemn moment to bring charges like this,” he said. “And we recognize the efforts of the men and women in law enforcement throughout our state who serve with dignity and honor every single day. They work tirelessly to build a safe, respectful, and cooperative relationship with their communities, and that relationship is essential for law enforcement to do their jobs.”