Newark Man Shot by Off-Duty Police Officer in Carjacking Attempt Still Suffers Seven Years Later

The life of the young Black man, who was only 20 years old at the time, would be forever changed by what happened next.

“I had just left the house of a girl I was dating when I noticed an empty running car – a white BMW convertible. I had a 15-minute journey ahead of me and was in a rush, so I decided to jump in the car. My only concern was reaching my destination quickly,” Bryant shared. However, his ride was short-lived as he soon caught the attention of an off-duty police officer who started chasing him on foot. The situation escalated rapidly, resulting in a tragic outcome.

“The officer approached the car from the driver’s side and instructed me to put the car in park,” Bryant recounted. “I tried to quickly reach for the gear shift as he asked, but I wasn’t fast enough. The car was still moving, and then suddenly, I felt an intense pain in my back. I had been shot.”

Attorney Jarrett Adams, PLLC, who has offices in Milwaukee, Chicago, and New York City, took on Bryant’s case in 2019. Bryant, paralyzed from a bullet that entered his spine and caused damage to multiple vertebrae, found himself struggling to survive with limited options.

After being discharged from the hospital, Bryant had to rely on his cousins or friends to carry him outside or to different parts of his house since it was not wheelchair accessible. Reflecting on those times, Bryant described it as “feeling like a prisoner in my own home.” Although he has since moved to a different residence, the initial challenges he faced had a significant impact on his daily life.

“We took on Raheem’s case after watching the video of the shooting,” said Adams. “It really hits you when you see a young man, who isn’t a hardened criminal, make a bad decision to go for a joyride, and then witness that kid, who could easily be your own son, lying in a bed with deep sores resembling craters, unable to move without experiencing excruciating pain.”

The lawsuit against the City of Newark has now entered the discovery phase, according to Adams, which means that the case will not go to trial until next year at the earliest.

“It’s already been dragged out for far too long, and if the City files certain pretrial motions, it could go on for another two or three years,” Adams explained. “Meanwhile, this young man is confined to his bed and in desperate need of assistance. Yes, he made a mistake, but that shouldn’t be the end for him.

“He’s still young and has children. I call it ‘disingenuous litigation.’ We would like to see the City work towards resolving the case, but it just seems to be dragging on. It feels like the sentiment is that it’s more cost-effective to pay for a deceased young person than to cover the expenses for the necessary accommodations he now requires to move forward and for the rest of his life,” Adams expressed.

Bryant, reflecting on his past, expressed regret for his reckless behavior during his younger days and for blindly following the crowd. At the time, he didn’t consider the consequences of his actions.

“I know what I did was wrong, and there isn’t much I can say,” he acknowledged. “After it happened, my mother wasn’t angry because of what I had done as much as she was upset that I had gotten myself shot. She was mad because I could have died and left my two kids behind. Now, I spend much more time with them than before – that’s a positive change, something I should have been doing earlier. I’ve also managed to overcome my depression and anger. Initially, I pushed away all my family and friends and easily got upset about little things. I had to work through all of that too.

“Dropping out of school after the 11th grade was a foolish decision. Now, with plenty of time on my hands, I hope to go back and earn my degree. I have to do something positive with my life. And I tell the young people who are out on the streets now, it may seem fun at first, but if you end up like me, none of your friends will be there for you. You’ll be all alone, trapped in a dark hole with a troubled state of mind. That’s when you have to gather yourself, take responsibility for the mess you’ve created, and hope you can find the support you need to get your life back on track,” Bryant advised.

Efforts to contact the City of Newark’s legal department via phone and email went unanswered. However, after we sent a memo to Sabur Guy, Chief of Staff, Office of Dupré L. Kelly, West Ward Councilman, the following written statement was sent to the New Jersey Urban News.

“Good morning! Thank you for reaching out to me. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide any comment on this matter at this time. It is currently being handled by the City’s Law Department, so I recommend contacting them for further information.”

When Bryant, a resident of Kelly’s district, learned that his councilman was unable to assist him, he felt a sense of disappointment.

Bryant expressed his disappointment with the Councilman, even though his family had always supported him. He shared that when he reached out for help, the Councilman’s office directed him to the legal department. This experience left him feeling uneasy, despite his family’s positive experiences with the Councilman.

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