For Immediate Release: November 15, 2022
Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Office of Public Integrity and Accountability
– Thomas J. Eicher, Executive Director
TRENTON – A state grand jury voted not to file criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding the death of Ms. Zandra Baez, 66, of Camden, N.J., who died on June 9, 2021, after being fatally struck by a marked Camden County Metro Police Department vehicle driven by Officer Kevin R. Gilbert, Jr.
The fatal police encounter was investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to New Jersey residents called to serve on the grand jury in accordance with Directive 2019-4, the “Independent Prosecutor Directive,” issued in 2019. In July 2021, OPIA issued standard operating procedures (“SOPs”) to ensure that these grand jury presentations are conducted in a neutral, objective manner, and with appropriate transparency regarding the process, consistent with the Independent Prosecutor Directive.
The investigation of this officer-involved fatality 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 Monday, November 7, 2022, and voted “no bill,” meaning the grand jury concluded that no criminal charges should be filed against the officer involved in the fatal encounter.
According to the investigation, Officer Gilbert, who was on-duty and in uniform, was operating a marked patrol vehicle southbound on Mount Ephraim Avenue at approximately 10:55 p.m. on June 9, when he struck Ms. Baez, who was crossing Mount Ephraim Avenue at Woodlynne Avenue. Officer Gilbert, who was not responding to any call for service, was driving 36 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone with a steady green light in the direction he was travelling. Officer Gilbert immediately stopped and radioed for assistance. Ms. Baez was pronounced deceased at the scene at approximately 11:09 p.m.
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.
After considering evidence, testimony from the OPIA investigation, and instructions on the legal standards, including whether the officer’s actions caused Ms. Baez’s death, the state grand jury determined that no criminal charges should be brought against the officer.
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 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 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.
The Independent Prosecutor Directive is posted on the Attorney General’s website at this link:
Further information about how fatal police encounters are investigated in New Jersey under the directive is found at this link: