A Virginia-based law enforcement organization said Monday it will pay the legal expenses for Jovanny Crespo, a Newark police officer facing life in prison for shooting and killing a fleeing criminal suspect early this year.
The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund of Arlington, Virginia, describes its "core mission" as "raising funds to defend the actions of wrongly accused" police officers "acting within the scope of their responsibilities and training."
Crespo was indicted last month on charges of manslaughter, assault and other offenses for his actions during a high-speed pursuit that tore through the streets of Newark the night of Jan. 28.
Gregory Griffin, 46, and Andrew Dixon, 35, were pulled over at Clinton Avenue and Thomas Street, then fled the stop. The police officer who pulled them over informed dispatchers she had seen a weapon in the car.
Several officers joined in the pursuit of Dixon and Griffin, including Officer Hector Ortiz, who was driving with Crespo in the passenger seat.
Dash cam and body cam video show the two officers chasing Griffin and Dixon through Newark. At three locations during the pursuit, the suspects’ car slows almost to a stop and Crespo is seen jumping out, firing his weapon on the front seat at close range. He twice returned to the police car as the chase resumed.
The pursuit ended at 54 Irvine Turner Boulevard, near Kinney Street.
Both Griffin and Dixon were shot in the head. Griffin died at University Hospital from his injuries.
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