State Grand Jury Declines to Criminally Charge Officer in Connection with Fatality in Newark’s West Side Park on August 29, 2023

For Immediate Release: May 15, 2024

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

For Further Information:

Media Inquiries-
Dan Prochilo

TRENTON — A state grand jury has voted not to file any criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding the death of Don Jones, 50, of Newark, New Jersey, on August 29, 2023, in a park in Newark during an encounter with city police and members of the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Mr. Jones’ death 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 the Independent Prosecutor Directive of 2019. 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 witness interviews, review of video footage, findings from ballistics testing, 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 on May 13, 2024, and voted “no bill,” concluding no criminal charges should be filed against Newark Police Officer Jasmine Jimenez.

According to the investigation, on August 29, 2023, members of the U.S. Marshals New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force were in the area of West Side Park in Newark attempting to locate Mr. Jones, who had an active warrant for his arrest stemming from a homicide in Union County. The Task Force requested assistance from the Newark Police

Officers encountered Mr. Jones in West Side Park, and observed him taking a handgun from his waistband.  Mr. Jones fled on foot with Task Force members and Newark police officers in pursuit, directing him to drop the firearm. Mr. Jones ran to an open field where he was surrounded by police, at which point he dropped to a kneeling position, pointed the firearm at his head and fired. Officer Jimenez also fired her weapon towards Mr. Jones, but the officer’s shot did not strike anyone.

Mr. Jones was transported to University Hospital in Newark, where lifesaving efforts were performed, but he was declared deceased at 3:49 p.m.

Video recordings capturing the events surrounding the fatality are being released today, pursuant to policies established by the Attorney General’s Office in 2019 to promote the fair, impartial, and transparent investigation of fatal police encounters. Investigators previously met with representatives of Mr. Jones’ family to review the recordings.

The recordings are posted online:

A 2019 law, N.J.S.A. 52:17B-107(a)(2), 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 Independent Prosecutor 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 Drew Skinner in accordance with the policies and procedures established for these presentations in the SOPs.

At the conclusion of these investigations, pursuant to the Independent Prosecutor 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.


Translate »