TRENTON - The Attorney General’s Office April 27 released video recordings related to the death of Roy K. Jackel Jr., 41, of Wildwood Crest, who died April 5, when Sgt. David Jernegen, of the Franklin Township Police Department, fired his service weapon at him, fatally wounding him.
According to a release, the fatal incident remains under investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA). The recordings from mobile video recorders (MVRs) in police vehicles are being released pursuant to policies established by the attorney general, in 2019, that are designed to promote the fair, impartial and transparent investigation of fatal police encounters.
The Attorney General’s Office also released audio recordings of police communications related to the incident.
There is no body-worn camera footage of the incident. Prior to the April 27 release, investigators provided the recordings to the decedent’s representative and relatives for their review.
According to the preliminary investigation, the shooting occurred at approximately 3 p.m., near Cumberland Avenue and Oak Road, in Buena Vista. Officers of the Franklin Township Police Department initially responded as mutual aid to investigate a motor vehicle accident involving Jackel, at Cumberland Road and Tuckahoe Road.
During the investigation, Jackel ran from the scene into a wooded area. He subsequently returned to the scene, entered an unoccupied marked police vehicle, and drove away.
After a brief pursuit, Jackel stopped the stolen police vehicle. He exited the vehicle and ran toward the officers, holding his arm behind his back and ignoring their commands to show his hands.
As Jackel neared the officers, Jernegan discharged his firearm, striking Jackel. Officers provided medical aid to Jackel until emergency medical personnel arrived.
Jackel was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical personnel at approximately 4:11 p.m.
The video recordings are posted here.
This investigation is being conducted pursuant to a state law enacted in January 2019 (P.L. 2019, c.1), which requires that the Attorney General’s Office conduct all investigations of a person’s 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.
Separately, the Independent Prosecutor Directive, which was issued by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, in December 2019, outlines a 10-step process for conducting these investigations. The directive establishes clear procedures governing such investigations to ensure that they are conducted in a full, impartial and transparent manner.
Under both state law and the directive, when the entire investigation is complete, the case will be presented to a grand jury, typically consisting of 16 to 23 citizens, to make the ultimate decision regarding whether criminal charges will be filed.
At present due to the Covid pandemic, regular grand juries are not sitting and hearing cases.
A copy of the Directive is available at this link:
https://www.nj.gov/oag/excellence/docs/2019-4_Independent_Prosecutor_Directive.pdf, and a summary of that 10-step process is available at this link: https://www.nj.gov/oag/excellence/docs/The-Independent-Prosecutor-Directive.pdf