Following the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that videos of fatal officer-involved shootings are public record and must be released, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office made available dash cam footage of a March 2014 gunfight on Monday. In the graphic footage, a thug, high on PCP, shoots at the cops and is quickly filled with more holes than Swiss cheese.
Antoquan Watson was gunned down after leading officers on a 10-mile long high-speed chase which began after he became belligerent inside of a Pleasantville restaurant. According to a waitress at La Esconda II Restaurant, where Watson was a regular and known to the staff, he bought two beers and appeared to be drunk and mumbling to himself.
When the suspect paid his bill, multiple people called to report seeing him holding his gun in his right hand and pointing it at the ceiling. Officers responded and attempted to talk to Watson while he was in his vehicle in the restaurant’s parking lot, but he refused to roll down the window.
He then took off in his black SUV, leading police on a high-speed pursuit, running red lights, swerving around other cars, and driving up to 85 MPH. Blue Lives Matter explained what happened next:
Finally, another vehicle struck Watson’s car after he ran a red light, causing the vehicle to spin out and stall.
Watson then exited his vehicle and opened fire on officers.
Officers returned fire, and were shocked when he appeared unaffected by the bullets. The officers assumed that he was wearing body armor, and it appears that at least one officer may have been shooting for his legs.
Finally, Antoquan Watson dropped to the ground when his blood pressure zeroed out.
Officers then placed him into custody because even death can’t save you from being placed under arrest for shooting at the police.
An autopsy revealed that Watson was high on PCP at the time of his death, which helps explain why he appeared unaffected by the officers’ bullets at first. Drugs like PCP and Flakka, which has recently gained popularity, can affect a user’s physical and mental state to such a degree that they virtually feel no pain. Some have even been known to continue fighting after being shot with a Taser.
Footage of Watson’s death, which may be difficult for some viewers to watch, shows the drugged thug being riddled with bullets, but better him than any of the officers he fired at:
According to NJ.com, seven officers, four from Pleasantville and three from Atlantic City, shot Watson a total of 45 times. After a use of force expert reviewed the scene and physical evidence, it was ruled that the officers had taken lawful action against Watson given the circumstances. In 2015, a grand jury declined to indict the seven officers involved in the incident.
Call me cold-hearted, but death was probably the best case scenario in the case of Antoquan Watson. Had he lived to tell about the day he led New Jersey police officers on a high-speed chase, only to open fire on them afterward, he’d be spending the rest of his life in prison. That would have cost taxpayers quite a bit more than the lead it took to kill him, so I say good riddance. He was little more than a waste of space anyway.