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At vigil for man killed by Paterson police, calls for federal intervention

Najee Seabrooks was fatally shot in a standoff with police.

At a vigil outside the offices of the Paterson Healing Collective on Tuesday evening, a statewide coalition of social justice organizations joined the family of Najee Seabrooks, who was killed last week after a standoff with Paterson police. The healing collective say the police refused to let members speak to Seabrooks — a violence interventionist with the collective — when they arrived at the scene.

“There’s still a lot that we don’t know about the exact circumstances that led to Friday’s fatal shooting. Police are not talking and body camera footage has not been released. But the tragic irony of a crisis intervention specialist denied the help of fellow crisis workers has added rage to the grief,” said Eli Carter, a cousin of Seabrooks.

“I keep replaying Friday over and over,” said Liza Chowdhury, project director with the Paterson Healing Collective. “Our team of crisis responders begged the police to allow us to help but they repeatedly denied our requests despite assisting over 250 Paterson residents since our inception; the police refused to let us help our own brother in crisis. If the police had allowed us to handle the situation, our brother would still be alive.”

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