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VIDEO: Bodycams Show Moments Before Driver's Fatal Medical Episode Off Rt 80

Sergio Rodriguez is led to the back of a NJSP SUV.
Sergio Rodriguez is led to the back of a NJSP SUV. Photo Credit: NJ ATTORNEY GENERAL

Body camera footage released Friday shows a diabetic Paterson driver who died following a traffic stop having a medical episode in the back of a State Police cruiser.

Troopers handcuffed Sergio Rodriguez, 51, and led him to the marked SUV after finding heroin in his car during a June 27 stop outside their Totowa barracks on Minnisink Road, the footage released by state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal shows.

Rodriguez tells the troopers that he’s low on insulin, so one asks him whether they should call EMS.

Rodriguez says he doesn’t want his family finding out, but the trooper insists.

“Listen, bro. I don’t want you dying,” he says. “You said you’re a diabetic.”

“I had three heart attacks,” Rodriguez responds.

Given those factors, the trooper says, they’re going to play it safe and get him medical help so that nothing happens to him, then radios for an EMS unit.

Moments later, troopers help Rodriguez out of the vehicle as he suffers some type of episode.

Video footage of troopers and paramedics trying to revive Rodriguez is being withheld for privacy reasons but was shared with the family, Grewal said.

He was taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson and pronounced dead a little over an hour and a half after the traffic stop.

Grewal released recordings from two NJSP body cameras and a dashcam on Friday.

They can be found here: Rodriguez Recordings from Body-Worn Cameras (BWCs) and Mobile Video Recorder (MVR)

“There are other recordings that are not being released because they do not capture the traffic stop, arrest, or police interaction with Mr. Rodriguez,” the attorney general said. “They include recordings from body-worn cameras of two other troopers who arrived at the scene and four additional MVR recordings.”

Grewal’s said his Office of Public Integrity and Accountability continues to investigate the incident as required by state law when a person’s death "occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody."

The attorney general said he released the recordings under a directive that he issued last year that requires doing so when requested in a use-of-force law enforcement incident "once the initial phase of the investigation is substantially complete."

That ordinarily takes 20 days, Grewal said.

More information will be released once the investigation is complete, he said.


ALSO SEE: A Clifton police officer headed to a call had his emergency lights activated when his cruiser struck and killed a female pedestrian Thursday night, authorities said.


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