A Trenton man already charged federally with throwing a makeshift Molotov cocktail into a city police vehicle following a protest last year now faces charges of throwing another at New Jersey State Police troopers moments later.
The troopers were subduing another rioter when Kadeem Dockery, 29, crouched behind the Trenton police SUV, threw the device at them and ran, an indictment returned by a state grand jury in Trenton charges.
The device “exploded at the feet of the troopers, causing one to suffer temporary loss of hearing,” state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said Tuesday.
The May 21 incident followed large-scale protests in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Although the Trenton protest earlier in the day itself was peaceful, violence erupted later, as a mob spread down East State Street, smashing windows, looting stores and attacking city police vehicles.
Authorities said they reviewed street-camera surveillance videos, as well as footage shot on cellphones and posted on social media that led to Dockery and Killian F. Melecio, of Columbus, thanks to distinctive tattoos.
Both were initially charged federal, joining a third man, Justin D. Spry.
The troopers were arresting a resisting Spry when Dockery threw the device at them, Grewal said.
“This week, 144 graduating New Jersey state troopers will take an oath to defend life and property and accept the responsibility of willfully placing themselves in grave danger to uphold that oath,” NJSP Supt. Col. Patrick J. Callahan said Monday.
“The rigorous physical and mental training every trooper receives is to prepare them to handle violent and chaotic situations, like the one allegedly perpetrated by Dockery, with the same poise and professionalism of the responding troopers who were assaulted in Trenton,” Callahan said.
Last spring’s attack “might have resulted in serious injuries to the state troopers, who risk their health and safety every day to protect our communities,” Grewal said.
The state grand jury indictment, he said, shows that authorities in New Jersey “will not tolerate violence directed at law enforcement.”
It “reflects our commitment to protect our law enforcement officers by prosecuting those who threaten or harm them to the full extent of the law,” the attorney general added.
The indictment begins by echoing federal findings that Dockery “lit an explosive device and threw it through the open driver’s window of a Trenton police vehicle.”
Dockery then “removed his T-shirt and gave it to” Melecio, who shoved it into the gas tank of the police vehicle with Spry and tried to light it, the indictment says.
Troopers who’d spotted them had just grabbed Dockery when the device came flying their way, it says.
Grewal credited special agents of the FBI and task force officers of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark – including Sgt. Hugo Ribeiro and fellow state police assignees.
Ribeiro “served as case agent on the investigation with special agents of the FBI,” the attorney general said.
Deputy Attorney General Amie Hyde is prosecuting the case for the state Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.
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