New Jersey

Family Demands Answers After NJ Man Dies in State Police Custody

New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino said in a statement on Tuesday that his office's shooting response team is looking into the death of 39-year-old Marshall Zamor, of Sicklerville.

Authorities say they are investigating what led to the death of a New Jersey man who was in police custody.

New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino said in a statement on Tuesday that his office's shooting response team is looking into the death of 39-year-old Marshall Zamor, of Sicklerville.

Porrino says Zamor died while in New Jersey State Police custody after he was stopped on the Atlantic City Expressway on March 29 and charged with marijuana possession.

Investigators say Zamor was stopped on the AC Expressway shortly before 11 a.m. on March 29 because the windows on his vehicle had illegal tinting. He was arrested after the trooper smelled marijuana coming from his vehicle and found two marijuana "blunts," investigators said.

Zamor was placed in a holding cell at the Atlantic City Expressway State Police Station.

Porrino says police noticed Zamor placed a white rocklike substance in his mouth while in custody and that troopers repeatedly tried to remove it.

"Zamor continued to look and behave like he had something in his mouth," Porrino wrote. "Troopers meanwhile retrieved protective plastic gloves, and several troopers re-entered the cell to try to remove the object."

Porrino claimed one trooper was able to get a chunk of the substance out of Zamor's mouth but was unable to remove all of it.

"Troopers held Zamor during these efforts, but no force was used by the troopers beyond the force needed to hold him and attempt to swipe the object from his mouth," Porrino wrote.

Porrino said Zamor didn't appear to be in distress when the troopers tried to remove the object. He also wrote the troopers called EMS to respond, reporting that Zamor had ingested suspected crack cocaine.

"Zamor continued to work his mouth and wipe his mouth as if he had something in it," Porrino wrote. "After a number of minutes, he began to appear restless and uncomfortable, repeatedly leaning over a sink in the cell, where he drank water and wiped his face, his clothing and the sink with toilet paper. At one point, he put a wad of toilet paper in his mouth. Troopers observed that Zamor appeared to be in distress. They entered the cell to assist Zamor, and Zamor again hunched over the sink. Troopers held Zamor as he hunched over the sink and a toilet in the cell."

The troopers lowered Zamor to the floor and continued to try and help him as he began convulsing and lost consciousness, according to Porrino.

"Troopers attempted to revive him with smelling salts," Porrino wrote. "They then administered CPR to Zamor. EMS personnel arrived and took over the efforts to revive Zamor."

Zamor was then taken to Atlantic City Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Toxicology tests have not been completed. During the autopsy exam, a plastic bag was found obstructing Zamor's larynx and a firm white substance was found in the larynx, according to Porrino.

As the investigation into Zamor's death continues, his family as well as Black Lives Matter-NJ are demanding more information as well as any available surveillance video.

A representative for BLM-NJ said in a released statement that they want to see videos showing what transpired during the two hours in which Zamor was detained, including surveillance video from the officer's patrol vehicle, the barrack's processing area and the detention area.

"In these days of 'alternative facts' the community itself has got to step forward in conjunction with other apparatuses for transparency within this Democracy, such as the press, and formulate their own investigations and strategies to achieve Justice," the representative wrote. "We cannot trust the police to police the police, so we are demanding the release of all relevant surveillance videos."

"We have had up to one hundred people send Open Public Records requests to the Attorney General's Office, and we demand that the Attorney General takes each one of these requests seriously and responds accordingly to each request. These requests demonstrate the community's grave concern regarding the lack of transparency surrounding the way in which police related incidences are investigated in the State New Jersey."

A spokeswoman for BLM-NJ told NBC10 the Attorney General's Office has not yet responded to their request.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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