We need an independent investigation into the incident with Daniel Nagahama

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To the Highland Park Boro Council and the Office of the Attorney General-New Jersey:

We, the undersigned, demand an independent investigation of the police
and prosecutor's actions in the Daniel Nagahama case, as well as an
independent review of the autopsy.

On June 2, 2016, Mr. Nagahama, just 28 years old, was involved in an
encounter with police, part of which was captured on dashcam video.
The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office then released a
statement on June 4, 2016 that Nagahama became belligerent and
struggled with police as officers attempted to revive him after
finding him laying in the street, and that he was not placed under
arrest.

However, the video, which was released in 2017, shows Nagahama, who is
standing and walking around, and the officers speaking with Nagahama
and each other for at least several minutes before the officers
attempt to place him in handcuffs. Nagahama is pinned against the
police car by four officers. An officer's fist is pushed underneath
Nagahama's chin.

Nagahama and the officers are then out of view for several minutes
when Nagahama can be heard screaming that he is being hurt. Finally,
an ambulance arrives and he is placed on a stretcher; his arms appear
to be handcuffed underneath him. A few hours later, he was dead.

According to police reports, an officer used a chemical or natural
agent against Nagahama. For many months the Prosecutor's office
refused to release the Use of Force reports which showed that a
chemical or natural agent had been used on Nagahama. The report was
ultimately released nearly a year after the incident as the result of
a lawsuit.

In part, because the prosecutor's office resisted providing a full and accurate
explanation of the incident and his death, we believe that an
independent investigation is necessary.

 



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