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ALLENTOWN, PA. (THECOUNT) — A video has emerged depicting Officer Jonathan Roselle, firing his service weapon at Joseph Santos, of Hasbrouck Heights, as he walked away.
Santos, 44, was a suspect observed hanging on or jumping on moving cars near a Pennsylvania amusement park, a prosecutor announced Tuesday.
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Roselle, 33, was charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death.
Officer Jonathan Roselle of the South Whitehall Township police department had an “unreasonable” belief that his safety was endangered when he shot Joseph Santos on July 28, said Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin.
Roselle, 33, of Parryville, was directing traffic near Dorney Park when a “frantic” woman stopped and said someone had tried to enter her vehicle, and when the officer arrived Santos climbed on the hood of his vehicle and pounded on his windshield and side windows. He then walked away but wheeled around and approached, ignoring the officer’s commands to stop and get down on the ground, and the officer fired five times. source
Martin said Santos, 44, of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey had been engaging in “somewhat bizarre” behavior and at the time of the shooting was walking toward the officer. But he said Santos wasn’t running or rushing toward him, had no visible weapon and didn’t present any threatening posture, and there was no evidence that he had attempted any forceful felony. Martin said the officer, who he called “relatively inexperienced,” also had a flexible baton, stun gun and pepper spray, and made several remarks following the shooting indicating that he believed he had made a mistake.
Martin said he had approved a voluntary manslaughter charge rather than a third-degree murder charge because no malice was involved. To those who believed police brutality or racism was involved, he said the investigation “has disclosed no facts which would support those contentions.”
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