A country music song plays on the car stereo as a Pennsylvania driver who'd just crashed his car into a ditch off Route 80 shoots his dog and is then shot and killed by New Jersey State Police troopers, video released Monday shows.
Dashboard and body cameras captured clear and disturbing video of the 1:30 a.m. Nov. 7 encounter on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River.
The collection of videos released by state Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck show the two troopers approaching the disabled vehicle from either side on Starlite Hill Road in the Columbia section of Knowlton in Warren County.
Behind the wheel is Timothy Parks, 34, of Saylorsburg, PA. A dog is seated on the passenger side.
Faint strains of Tyler Childers's 2019 hit, "All Your'n," can be heard from inside as the troopers ask Parks if he's OK.
The dog starts moving into the backseat and the troopers instantly back up. One of them shouts at Parks: "Keep your hands on that wheel!"
Parks then turns up the volume and takes a swig from a can that he sets on the dashboard as the troopers advance again.
Then he pulls out a cigarette.
"Hey! Hey! Keep your hands on the wheel!" one trooper shouts as Parks lights up.
VIEW THE RECORDINGS: NJ Attorney General / Knowlton / Timothy Parks (Nov. 7, 2021)
The trooper repeats the command as Parks taps his chest with both hands, signaling the dog to come to him
He then reaches into the back of the vehicle.
"Hey! Hey! Don't touch the gun!" one trooper yells. "Do not touch the gun!" the other shouts.
Parks then shoots the dog and the troopers open fire.
Parks opens the door, staggers out of the car and falls in front of it. A trooper finds him still alive and begins conducting CPR.
"The driver was subsequently transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Pennsylvania and was pronounced deceased shortly after 2:30 a.m.," Bruck said.
He didn't say what happened to the dog.
Despite the obvious circumstances, both state law and his own guidelines require Bruck 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."
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.
Part of the process is publicly releasing audio and video recordings of incidents. Investigators reviewed the recordings from Nov. 7 with Parks's family before releasing them, Bruck said Monday.
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