The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office has identified the officer and the decedent involved in last week’s fatal shooting on the west side of Jersey City.
On May 24th, Jersey City police officers responded to the intersection of Communipaw Avenue and West Side Avenue at approximately 11:56 p.m. in response to a 911 call of a domestic dispute involving a man with a gun, the AG’s office said in a statement.
During the encounter, Police Officer Omar Polanco discharged his service weapon, fatally wounding Joseph Robertson, 59, of Jersey City.
Officers and emergency medical personnel rendered first aid to Robertson and he was pronounced deceased at the scene at 12:19 a.m. A firearm was recovered near his body at the scene.
Polanco is not listed in the state’s use of force database and he has been an officer for about three-and-a-half years, according to public records.
Robertson described himself on his Facebook page as “a very out going person who love to see a smile on people [sic] faces always thinking ahead” and his son, Joleetah Robertson, started a GoFundMe page with a $15,000 goal to cover his funeral costs.
“My name is Joleetah Robertson and I am sad to write that my dad (Joseph Robertson) was killed on May 25, 2022 by a Jersey City Police Officer. While there is still an ongoing investigation with this case, I am struggling to find a way to give my dad a proper burial due to his untimely death,” he wrote in the page description.
“I am currently in graduate school while working part time so, unfortunately, unable to financially cover these expenses on my own.
I am asking for your support of a donation to assist me with this matter as we all would want for our own families.”
This investigation is being conducted pursuant to Attorney General Directive 2019-4, which implements the statutory requirement that the Attorney General’s Office conduct the investigation of any death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody, and which establishes clear standards and procedures for conducting such investigations.
On Wednesday, the AG’s office declined to name the officer of the decedent, citing an ongoing investigation.
On that day, HCV filed an Open Public Records Act request with the AG’s office seeking the names, as well as police body and dash camera footage of the incident.
As of this writing, they have not yet replied to the request, which they would typically have seven business days to reply to, though this request cited a state statute asking for the names of the officer and decedent within 24 hours.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with additional information about Joseph Robertson.