Police cleared of any wrongdoing in the death of 41-year-old Paterson man

Paterson Police Sgt. Angelo Gencarelli and Officer Rocco Galiano were cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation and grand jury probe of an incident that involved the death of a man.

A state grand jury voted not to file criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding the death of Jose Gonzalez, 41, of Paterson, who died after an encounter with Gencarelli and Galiano last year.

The fatal encounter was investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to New Jersey residents serving on the grand jury in accordance with a state law enacted in 2019.

The investigation included interviews of witnesses, collection of forensic evidence, review of video footage, and autopsy results from the medical examiner.

After hearing testimony and evidence from the investigation, the grand jury concluded its deliberations on November 14, 2022 and voted “no bill,” meaning the grand jury concluded no charges should be filed against any officer.

According to investigator, the Paterson Police received two 911 calls regarding a male dressed in pajamas on Madison Avenue in Paterson who was jumping between the roofs of residences and broke a window to enter a home at around 5:26 p.m., on October 2, 2021.

Paterson police officers responded to 620 Madison Ave. and encountered the bloody, shirtless Gonzalez lying on the ground, with visible cuts and blood on his hands and arms, at the exterior rear of the residence.

The officers called for medical assistance.

Shortly thereafter, Gonzalez began flailing his arms and speaking incoherently.

Over the next 12 minutes, Gonzalez repeatedly flailed his arms, hit himself in the chest and face, and punched the exterior of the residence.

He then kicked backwards and opened the resident’s rear basement door and stumbled into the residence. The officers immediately removed him from the residence and handcuffed him to allow EMTs to safely render medical aid.

Only seconds after the officers cuffed him, Gonzalez suddenly became silent and motionless, in stark contrast to the restlessness and uncontrolled movement he displayed moments earlier.

Gonzalez was transported to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center and was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.

An autopsy was conducted and the Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was acute drug toxicity and the manner of death was an accident.

Less than two months after the October 2 incident, authorities released a police body camera video as well as audio recordings of two 911 calls and 12 minutes of police radio transmissions.

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