State Grand Jury Declines to Criminally Charge Asbury Park Officers Involved in Fatal Crash in Neptune Township on June 5, 2022

For Immediate Release: October 19, 2023

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Office of Public Integrity and Accountability
– Thomas J. Eicher, Executive Director

For Further Information:

Media Inquiries-
Dan Prochilo

TRENTON — A state grand jury has voted not to file criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding the deaths of Dishawn Bellamy, 32, and a 17-year-old male, both from Asbury Park, New Jersey, during a fatal June 5, 2022 crash in Neptune Township, after Mr. Bellamy fled from an attempted vehicle stop by Asbury Park police officers.

The deaths were investigated by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to New Jersey residents serving on the state grand jury in accordance with the Independent Prosecutor Directive of 2019 (the “Directive”). In July 2021, OPIA issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure these grand jury presentations are conducted in a neutral, objective manner, with appropriate transparency regarding the process, consistent with the Directive.

The investigation included interviews of witnesses, photographs, review of body-worn and police dashboard camera footage, and autopsy results from the medical examiner. This evidence, including video of the incident, was presented to a state grand jury. After hearing the testimony and evidence, the grand jury concluded its deliberations Monday, October 16, 2023, and voted “no bill,” meaning the grand jury decided no criminal charges should be filed against Asbury Park Police Officers Samuel Griffeth and Scott Ritter.

According to the investigation, on June 5, 2022, at 7:16 p.m., Officers Griffeth and Ritter responded to the area of Atkins Avenue and Boston Way in Asbury Park after hearing gunfire. As the officers responded, a Ford Explorer, driven by Mr. Bellamy, sped past Officer Ritter’s patrol vehicle. Officer Ritter recognized Mr. Bellamy, who was known to have an active arrest warrant for a charge of attempted murder.

Officer Ritter radioed to Officer Griffeth to stop the vehicle. Officer Griffeth then followed the Explorer, with Officer Ritter following behind. Shortly thereafter, the Explorer took off at a high speed. The officers did not match the Explorer’s speed but did have their emergency lights flashing and trailed the SUV as it left the scene. The Explorer drove less than a mile before Mr. Bellamy lost control of the vehicle while attempting a left turn, thereby rolling over and ultimately striking a home in Neptune Township, New Jersey. The vehicle came to rest in a tree-lined area along the side of the home. Approximately 40 seconds elapsed from the time Officer Griffeth radioed that the Explorer was not stopping until the vehicle crashed.

When Mr. Bellamy lost control of the Explorer, it was more than a block away from the police vehicles driven by Officers Ritter and Griffeth. Police recovered two firearms near the crashed Explorer. As a result of the crash, the 17-year old and the driver, Mr. Bellamy, died. Two other occupants in the vehicle, a 15-year-old male from Asbury Park and a 25-year-old male from Neptune, exited the SUV and started running away. They were stopped by officers, without incident, after a short foot pursuit. Neither had significant injuries from the crash.

A 2019 law, P.L. 2019, c. 1, requires the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. It requires that all such investigations be presented to a grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer or officers involved. The grand jury is instructed on the elements of the potential criminal offenses, including criminal homicide offenses, that could be brought and, as required by statutes, the grand jury is instructed on self-defense and other forms of legal justification.

A conflicts check was conducted pursuant to the Directive and no actual or potential conflict of interest was found involving any individual assigned to the investigation. Prior to presentation to the grand jury, the investigation was reviewed by OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher in accordance with the policies and procedures established for these presentations in the SOPs.

At the conclusion of these investigations, pursuant to the Directive and SOPs, OPIA determines whether any principal should be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for administrative review in accordance with the AG’s Internal Affairs Policy & Procedures. OPIA monitors any resulting review and takes such actions as are necessary to ensure that the review is completed in a timely fashion, and that appropriate actions are taken based on the results of the review.

The Independent Prosecutor Directive is posted on the Attorney General’s website and is available here: Independent Prosecutor Directive

OPIA’s standard operating procedures for grand jury presentations of investigations involving fatal police encounters are also posted on the Attorney General’s website, and are available here: OPIA Grand Jury SOPs


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