The family of a 27-year-old New Jersey man who recorded frantic video of his visit to a Paterson police station is demanding answers after he died mysteriously just days later. Authorities say Jameek Lowery, a father of three, entered Paterson police headquarters early Saturday complaining of paranoia and claiming that people, including police officers, were trying to kill him. The bizarre incident was captured via Facebook Live just before 4 a.m. The 4-minute clip shows Lowery near the front desk sweating profusely, foaming at the mouth and begging for help, repeatedly claiming that someone is out to get him. The young man is also heard asking officers for water. “They try to kill me … he right there,” Lowery, who is bipolar, says in the video.
“I’m just paranoid. That’s it. I’m not touching nobody. I swear to God.” The man then begs officers “not to shoot” him. Hours later, according to his siblings, Lowery was taken to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, where he arrived unresponsive and died Monday. The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office said Lowery, who was apparently high on what he believed to be ecstasy, had to be subdued by officers who “used physical force and compliance holds” to secure him in an ambulance. Officials, in varying accounts, say the drive to the hospital from the police station took between three and 12 minutes, but it is unknown how long Lowery was at the police station before his transport began. A cause of death hasn’t been determined, but the office pointed to hospital records that indicated “no acute trauma” to the young man’s
body. Lowery’s brother, Jamir King, says otherwise and claims his brother suffered a broken cheekbone and fractured eye socket sometime after the Facebook videos were recorded. “His face wasn’t like that in the video,” King said in a video of his own, asserting that two hours had passed between the time Lowery recorded the video and the time he arrived to the hospital. “What happened during that time?” In an interview with New York’s PIX 11, Lowery’s parents questioned “why the heck y’all [officers] didn’t help my son?” Before stumbling into the police station, a release by the prosecutor’s office revealed that Lowery called 911 around 2:45 that morning saying that he “had taken ecstasy and was paranoid.” He was transported to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center at 3:04 a.m. but left after he became “erratic.” Lowery would dial 911 again at 3:44 a.m., this time from a nearby Wendy’s. That’s when he walked into police
headquarters begging for help moments later. “Yo, they trying to kill me,” he tells officers in the video, adding that he sees something “over by the wall” of the station. Lowery then accuses officers of trying to kill him because “I told on y’all.” Alluding to his own demise, the man states “if I die in an hour or two, they did it. I didn’t touch them at all.” A few minutes go by and Lowery proceeds to beg officers for a drink of water. A man who appears to be a fire department responder tells him there’s water at the hospital and asks if Lowery wants to go. Although incoherent at times, Lowery asserts “they just kicked me out, they beat me up at the hospital — the ambulance, the security guards in there.” Lowery continues asking for water, but officers refuse. Law enforcement sources later told the Paterson Press that officers weren’t allowed to give the man water because, according to them, it may have caused more harm, as officials did not know whether Lowery had ingested anything that didn’t mix well with water. The man’s relatives said hospital staff told them
they checked for eight different narcotics in Lowery’s system — all of which they said came back negative and clean. The family is still awaiting the results of an autopsy. News of Lowery’s death has sparked outrage across Paterson, prompting hundreds of local protests outside police headquarters on Tuesday. Demonstrators could be heard chanting “no justice, no peace” while holding signs that read “Justice 4 Jameek” and “Black Lives Matter.” PIX 11 reported the crowd became rowdy at one point, however, prompting police to use their mace. Protesters said they only want justice for Lowery and argued that his life might have been saved if police had just given him water.
“He never hurt nobody,” resident Robin Brown, who carried a banner displaying Lowery’s picture, told the Paterson Press. “Never, never hurt nobody.” Mayor Andre Sayegh’s office has promised to conduct a full investigation into the series of events that led to Lowery’s death, which it said will include interviews with officers as well as hospital medical staff. “I completely support a full investigation into Saturday evening’s events,” Sayegh said. “In the meantime, I’ve expressed my condolences to the family of Mr. Lowery, who are suffering during this difficult time. I ask that all Patersonians share their prayers and condolences.” The officers in Lowery’s video have been placed on paid administra.tive leave pending an investigation.