Jovanny Crespo Wiki
Jovanny Crespo, 26, a police officer in Newark, New Jersey, is charged with aggravated manslaughter after prosecutors said he opened fire on a fleeing vehicle. Both the driver and the passenger were shot in the head, investigators said.
The shooting happened on January 28, 2019. The driver, Gregory Griffin, 46, died the next day. The passenger, identified as Andrew Dixon, 35, was critically injured.
Newark, NJ police officer Jovanny Crespo is charged with aggravated manslaughter. Prosecutors have released body camera footage of the fatal shooting, which occurred during a chase: https://t.co/SRmlwqvsOe @HeavySan pic.twitter.com/VL0itOKM4h
— Erin Laviola (@ErinLaviola) May 22, 2019
Officer Crespo was wearing a body camera during the pursuit. Prosecutors have released the video, with the faces of the victims blurred out. The video is embedded below and we want to warn that some may find it disturbing.
What more do we know about the indictment of Newark Police Officer Jovanny Crespo? https://t.co/js0u68LcGX
— The Tornado News (@TheTornadoNews) May 22, 2019
Crespo was arrested on May 21 and booked into the Essex County Correctional Facility. He faces six charges and could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
The Victim, Gregory Griffin, Sped Away After Another Officer Attemped a Traffic Stop; The First Officer Reported That She Saw a Gun in the Vehicle
The fatal chase began on January 28, 2019, sometime after 11 p.m. The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office explained in a news release that a female Newark officer, who was not named in the release, pulled Gregory Griffin over for a traffic stop.
She radioed for help when Griffin sped away. She included that she thought she had seen a gun in the vehicle. Several Newark officers responded to the call and gave chase.
Officer Crespo and his partner, Officer Hector Ortiz, were among those who gave chase; Crespo was in the passenger seat. They chased Griffin for about a mile. Crespo got out of the car at three separate locations and fired multiple shots at Griffin’s vehicle.
Shooting Was Recorded on Officer Crespo’s Body Camera & He Was Heard Telling His Partner That the Suspect Had Pointed a Gun at Him
Newark Police Officer Jovanny Crespo indicted on aggravated manslaughter charges in police involved shooting that killed 1 and injured another. https://t.co/8nN7X5qRw9
— The Tornado News (@TheTornadoNews) May 22, 2019
Jovanny Crespo was the only Newark Police officer to fire his weapon against Gregory Griffin and his passenger. The body camera footage, made public by Essex County prosecutors and shared online by NBC New York, shows that Crespo fired multiple times at the moving vehicle. Crespo was the passenger and his partner, Officer Ortiz, was driving.
Crespo fired the first shots after jumping out of the car and running toward Griffin’s vehicle. You can hear the gun go off three times as Griffin speeds away. Crespo, breathing hard, gets back into the cruiser and says over the radio, “Shots fired.” At 1:33 into the video, Crespo is heard telling his partner, “I shot at it, bro.”
The officers catch up to Griffin at an intersection. You can hear Crespo’s partner say, “Relax, bro” several times. Crespo gets out of the cruiser again and fires at least two more rounds as Griffin manages to speed away again.
Crespo tells his partner, “I think I shot him. I seen the gun, he pointed the gun at me. Bro, he pointed the gun right at me.” As they continued to give chase, Crespo expressed concern that the suspects would jump out of the car.
Griffin’s vehicle came to a stop on Irvine Turner Boulevard near Kinney Street. Crespo approached again and fired two more times. He ordered the passenger, Andrew Dixon, to get out of the car, but Dixon appeared to struggle to move. Crespo also yelled, “Don’t reach for nothing.” Griffin was slumped over in the driver’s seat. Both faces were blurred out in the video released by prosecutors.
N.J. officer charged with manslaughter in shooting death of fleeing motorist
Newark police Officer Jovanny Crespo could face life in prison if he’s convicted of killing Gregory Griffin, who was shot and killed in late January. pic.twitter.com/Qcz6fQtuDv
— Gen McNeil (@McNeil939) May 22, 2019
Crespo pulls Dixon out of the car and puts him on the ground as more officers arrive at the scene with their guns drawn. You can hear Crespo tell them, “I shot in the head.” The officers called for emergency medical responders as Crespo is heard saying, “I shot both of them.”
Toward the end of the video, Crespo sits down on the sidewalk as the other officers ask if he was injured. He explains again that he shot both men in the vehicle.
Jovanny Crespo Was Suspended Without Pay After the Shooting & Has Been Charged on Six Counts Including Aggravated Manslaughter
Jovanny Crespo was suspended without pay on February 26, 2019. The acting Essex County Prosecutor, Theodore N. Stephens II, said in a statement at the time that his office was investigating the shooting and that “the evidence gathered, so far, raises serious questions about the officer’s conduct.”
• Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (2 counts)
• Official Misconduct (2 counts)
Prosecutors noted in a news release that Crespo could face life in prison if convicted on all of the charges. He was taken into custody and booked into the Essex County Correctional Facility. A detention hearing was expected to take place shortly, where potential bond could be determined.
Jovanny Crespo Had Been With the Newark Police For Less Than Two Years At the Time of the Fatal Shooting
The president of the Newark Fraternal Order of Police, James Stewart Jr, has defended Crespo. He told NJ.com, “The Newark FOP fully supports him, and his family, and we look forward to the next step in this process, which will be a courtroom, where a jury will hear the fully story of what occurred that night, not just a portion of the events.”
Newark Cop Charged in Traffic Stop Shooting That Left 1 Man Dead.
Prosecutors say officer Jovanny Crespo is charged with aggravated manslaughter & two counts of second degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. #JovannyCrespohttps://t.co/jyfcoIQuK8
— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) May 22, 2019
Crespo owns a home in Newark. He does not appear to be married, but Stewart has referred to Crespo as a father in previous statements.
Gregory Griffin Died the Day After the Shooting; The Passenger, Andrew Dixon, Survived & Charged For Having an Illegal Weapon
Gregory Griffin died at University Hospital the day after the chase and shooting. He was 46. His family spoke with WABC-TV, who shared that he left behind four children. Griffin’s father, Alphonso Whitaker, said his son “didn’t deserve” to have the police shooting at him. Griffin’s younger brother told the reporter that Griffin’s young daughter “cries every day for him.”
NJ.com also reported that Griffin was known to police for previous drug-related arrests.
The passenger, 35-year-old Andrew Dixon, survived the shooting but is “not in good shape,” according to NBC News. Dixon was charged for illegally being in possession of a gun.