An investigation is underway to determine why a man claiming to be high on the drug ecstasy died after going to a New Jersey police headquarters and broadcasting his final conscious moments on Facebook Live in which he alleged police were going to kill him.
Jameek Lowery, 27, was pronounced dead at a hospital on Monday, two days after showing up in an agitated state at the Patterson Police Department headquarters, police officials said.
"I want justice. I need the truth, and I'm going nowhere until I get the truth," Lowery's mother, Patrice King, said at a Paterson City Council meeting Tuesday night that was attended by several hundred protesters who joined her demand for answers.
Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said her office is investigating the circumstances surrounding Lowery's death. She said authorities are awaiting the results of an autopsy by the New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner's Office.
A preliminary investigation showed that while "police used physical force and compliance holds to secure Mr. Lowery in an ambulance," hospital records "indicate no acute trauma" was evident on Lowery's body, according to a statement from Valdes.
Lowery called 911 about 2:45 a.m. on Saturday, saying he had taken ecstasy and was paranoid, Valdes said.
An emergency medical services crew from the Paterson Fire Department responded, according to Valdes, and took Lowery to St. Joseph's University Medical Center in Paterson.
"Mr. Lowery left the hospital sometime after becoming erratic at the hospital," Valdes's statement reads.
Lowery called 911 again about 3:42 a.m. Saturday, claiming people were trying to kill him in the area of Broadway and Memorial Drive, near Passaic County Community College, according to Valdes.
Three minutes after placing the second 911 call, Lowery walked into the lobby of the Paterson Police Department headquarters and began broadcasting on Facebook Live.
"I need water. I thought I was gonna throw up," Lowery told three officers standing in the lobby, according to his Facebook Live broadcast.
"Y'all gonna kill me. They're gonna kill me. Please help me," he said. "Mom, I'm sorry. They're gonna do this to me. They're gonna kill your baby boy. Alright, go ahead and kill me. Please don't shoot me."
A police officer told him, "Just relax" but officers declined his request for water, according to the five-minute Facebook Live broadcast.
When an EMS crew arrived at police headquarters, Lowery's broadcast ended.
"Paterson Police and Paterson Fire Department records indicate the transportation from headquarters to the hospital took approximately five to twelve minutes," Valdes said in her statement. "Upon arrival at the hospital, Mr. Lowery was unresponsive."
The officers filmed in Lowery's Facebook Live broadcast have been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.
"We want facts. I've been working on this since Saturday. I've canceled appointments on Monday and Tuesday so I can focus on getting not just answers, but accurate answers," Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh told the crowd at Tuesday night's city council meeting.
Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale also addressed protesters at the meeting, telling them to be patient and wait for the results of the autopsy.
"Everything will come out and then we'll know where we stand and the answers will be given to you," Speziale said. "Right or wrong, I want you to have those answers."