Anti-Violence Activist Shot & Killed By Police During Mental Health Crisis

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Family members and community leaders are demanding accountability for the Paterson, New Jersey officers who shot and killed an anti-violence activist who was having a mental health crisis.

Najee Seabrooks, 31, was killed earlier this month after locking himself in a bathroom upon police arrival at a building on Mill Street, according to the Attorney General, per CBS2. Investigators said three officers tried to use non-lethal force during a four-hour standoff before fatally shooting Seabrooks.

The Attorney General identified Anzory Tsay and Jose Hernandez as the officers who shot their weapons.

Family members said Seabrooks was having a mental health crisis. They are demanding the termination of the officers involved in Seabooks' fatal shooting, the swift release of body camera footage, and the creation of a unit to help those going through mental health crises.

The Attorney General hasn't provided an explanation as to why the officers resulted in using deadly force. Sources told CBS2 that Seabrooks threw an object at officers and that police couldn't use a stun gun because of busted pipes and a small fire.

The People's Organization for Progress is urging the Justice Department to intervene in the case.

"We are calling for a Department of Justice investigation. We think there is a pattern and practice in Paterson that warrants such an investigation, and we think the Paterson Police Department should be put under federal authority. A consent decree should be put into place and an independent federal monitor should be put over the Paterson Police," said Lawrence Hamm of People's Organization for Progress.

Seabrooks' mother, Mellissa Carter, told CBS2 that her son was a father and activist who mentored the youth.

"Najee was out just to help his community. He was a good kid. He was well-known in the community. All he wanted to do was help the community," Carter said.

Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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