Body camera from three different officers captures officers pummeling 29 -year-old Stephen A. Dolceamore, punching him multiple times and pressing their knees into his body and pushing his face into the ground. They eventually handcuff him and he stops screaming. He then appears to go unconscious.
At 11:45 a.m. on April 3, Trenton police were responding to a report of a man acting erratically and running in the streets. Within four-and-a-half minutes of police making contact with Dolceamore, he was unconscious, facedown in the dirt with a weak pulse.
“He’s turning purple,” says one officer as they check his pulse and call for an ambulance to attempt to revive him. He was pronounced dead at 12:40 p.m., just an hour after the confrontation at St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton.
The “tragic incident illustrates why the Trenton Police Department must continue to expand its efforts to be more accountable,” Trenton Police Department Director Sheilah Coley said in a recent statement. “In addition, we’re starting to train officers in techniques for restraining suspects that don’t require the use of physical force.”
Dolceamore’s death falls into a national and ongoing trend of officers responding to people in distress with force causing them to die.
“We must increase the rate at which we review complaints from area residents and, when necessary, take departmental disciplinary action. This matter was immediately referred to the N.J. Attorney General’s Office when it happened earlier this year.”
While the incident took place almost six months ago, little has been made public about Dolceamore’s death or the officers involved. Police claim the investigation is ongoing and the state attorney general’s office has been unable to proceed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Twenty-four hours after Doceamore’s death, video taken by a bystander surfaced capturing the police confrontation.
However, the coronavirus was just beginning to spread and Dolceamore’s death fell behind the daily news feed of curfews and mandated stay-at-home orders.
“This is a really sad video,” said Rich Rivera, former law enforcement officer in an interview with The Trentonian back in early April.
“I see the guy, running into the corner like a trapped rat, with no shirt on. It’s evident this man is having a mental breakdown, a crisis, by his body language. That sends up a red flag. They should have been doing some intervention and not escalating the situation. It should have never got to that point.”