Feds to probe county on Anglin; Police shooting of unarmed 15-year-old still debated

The U.S. Attorney’s office is investigating the county prosecutor in the aftermath of the January shooting of an unarmed 15-year-old boy, county officials confirmed last week. The family of Michael Anglin broke the news at a press conference Tuesday on the steps of 595 Newark Ave., the building that houses the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. Anglin was shot and killed by a Jersey City police officer after Anglin was allegedly involved in a botched car theft on Jan. 28. “We are pleased that the U.S. Attorney’s office is investigating the death of Michael Anglin,” said Rev. Ed Allen, a spokesman for the family. He said the county prosecutor has not cooperated with the investigation, and that questions remain about the incidents surrounding the case. But Deputy Assistant Prosecutor Ed DeFazio contended that the county has been cooperative. “They [the U.S. Attorney’s office] are looking over our file,” he said. “They’re reviewing the reports and statements. This happens in the normal course when there’s an allegation that somebody’s civil rights were violated.” A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office would not comment on the case. Though a Grand Jury dismissed any criminal charges against Vincent Corso, the police officer who shot Anglin, questions linger about the events of that winter night. “There are a host of activities that cause great suspicion,” said Allen. He contended that the van Anglin rode in was not, in fact, stolen. The prosecutor’s office denies this assertion. “I can’t understand how it can be stated that it was not stolen,” said DeFazio. The accounts of the actual shooting are still muddled. Some witnesses reported that Anglin was shot at a great distance, while other accounts said there was a struggle between the officer and Anglin, and others say Anglin slipped, fell and landed on the gun. DeFazio admitted the inconsistencies. “Were there conflicting accounts?” said DeFazio. “Definitely. Nobody can be a hundred percent sure as to what happened.” Additionally, police failed to notify the county prosecutor’s office for two hours after Anglin’s death, leaving questions over whether the scene of the shooting was compromised. Additionally, the family was not told that Anglin had been shot, only that he had been killed in a car accident. The county admits to these mistakes, but said they do not expect them to be made again. “It shouldn’t have happened, quite frankly,” said DeFazio, “because it ended in a tragic loss of life. But it wasn’t criminal. He was a young kid, and despite the fact he was involved in illegal conduct, the whole incident should have been avoided.” At the press conference, Allen faulted Jersey City’s African-American City Council members for not taking the lead on the matter. “It’s time they came out of hiding and stopped benefiting from the deaths of young people,” said Allen. When asked later to explain what he meant, Allen said that council members have not delivered on their promise to use tax abatement money to build community centers, which he said would help the young in Jersey City. Responding later, Councilwoman Melissa Holloway said, “Let’s not confuse the issues. Michael Anglin’s death was tragic, but let’s not bring politics into it.” She said the community center issue comes down whether a tenant can actually pay the rent for one, and thus far, no one in Ward F has come forward willing to do so. Anglin’s parents, Michael Sr. and Rose Lee Anglin, spoke after the press conference. “I want justice to be done,” said Rose Lee. The family has given notice that they will be filing a civil suit against both Bayonne and Jersey City. (Corso, the police officer who shot Anglin, was trained for police work in Bayonne.) DeFazio was circumspect on this new development. “This is counter-productive,” he said. “I doubt there will be any criminal prosecution brought by U.S. Attorney’s office.”


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