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CHILLING VIDEO: Relentless Knife-Wielding NJ War Vet Goads Police Before He's Shot

Knife raised, Daniel Ackley advances on the Millville police officers.
Knife raised, Daniel Ackley advances on the Millville police officers. Photo Credit: NJ ATTORNEY GENERAL

"That was stupid," a defiant, machete-wielding Iraq War veteran said after a local South Jersey police officer shot him during a confrontation earlier this month.

Video from body cameras worn by the two Millville police officers involved in the incident show them pointing their guns and flashlight at city resident Daniel Ackley, 33, as he relentlessly advances on them the night of Jan. 4.

In Ackley's raised right hand is a large knife, the videos released by the New Jersey Attorney General's Office show.

The two officers plead with Ackley dozens of times to drop the weapon as they back down snow-covered Burns Road.

"Or you'll do what?" he shouts back.

"C'mon, we can talk about this," one says.

"What if I don't wanna talk?" Ackley responds.

"C'mon," the other officer says as they continue down the street, keeping a distance of 12 to 15 feet.

"C'mon what?" Ackley shouts. "Do you not know what sentences are? I'm not afraid of you. I've been to Iraq, bitch."

"Drop it," an officer says as they near the corner. "Please, please. Drop it."

They turn the corner, still retreating with their guns pointed. They're now on dry asphalt.

Ackley continues to advance in his t-shirt, pajama pants and slippers.

"I don't want to shoot you," one officer repeats.

"We don't want to do this," says the other.

"Why don'tcha?" Ackley asks. "I'm not black enough to be shot?"

The officers repeat their pleas, but Ackley suddenly goes silent and closes the distance between them.

An officer fires one shot. 

One of Ackley's sandals is knocked off as he falls to the ground and rolls himself to the curb.

"Sh*t," he says, looking up at the officers. "That was stupid."

Exactly whom he was criticizing wasn't clear.

The other officer kicks the knife away as Ackley raises his hands. He's then rolled onto his stomach and handcuffed.

The officers roll Ackley back around, then struggle to put on rubber gloves to try and save his life.

"Am I gonna die?" he asks.

The officers try to keep Ackley conscious, but he's fading.

"Keep breathing, bud," one says. "C'mon, keep breathing for me."

They try to get Ackley to talk, asking his name.

"Daniel," he says with one of his final breaths.

CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEOS: Ackley-Millville Recordings

Both state law and his own guidelines require New Jersey's attorney general to investigate any and all deaths that occur “during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody," no matter how clear the circumstances are.

The guidelines guarantee that the investigation is done “in a full, impartial and transparent manner."

Once the investigation is complete, the results are presented to a grand jury -- ordinarily consisting of 16 to 23 citizens -- that determines whether or not there's cause to suspect any wrongdoing on the part of law enforcement.

New Jersey Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck said his staff shared the videos and 911 calls with Ackley's family before releasing them Thursday.

The recordings are part of a continuing investigation, he said.

In one of the videos, the officer who shot Ackley is responding to an emergency call at the family home when a 911 dispatcher tells him a suspect reportedly was on the back deck with a kitchen knife.

As the officer reaches the house, he shines a light on Ackley, who holding the knife in one hand with both arms outstretched upward.

"All right, buddy," the officer says.

"I'm not your buddy, guy," Ackley responds.

"Drop the knife, bud," the officer says.

"Or you'll do what?" Ackley responds, walking down a ramp of the deck.

"He's got a machete. He's coming at me," the officer says as his colleague joins him.

"He's got the knife," the other says. "He's advancing on us."

That's where the walk down the street begins.

Ackley was airlifted to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, where he was pronounced dead shortly before 11 p.m., roughly 90 minutes after the call.

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