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Officer Involved Shootings: Protecting Yourself in Interactions With Law Enforcement


While we are indebted to local and state police for keeping our communities safe, a troubling trend has caught national attention. Officer-involved shootings continue to make headlines throughout the country, with controversy over the use of deadly force. A recent case proved fatal for a Millvale man, as authorities continue investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident. At the Law Office Of Jordan B. Rickards, we want you to be aware of the potential dangers and what to do to protect yourself in these encounters.


Millvale Man Killed in Officer Involved Shooting


In the latest officer involved shooting to impact our region, a Millvale man was killed on October 18, 2018 during a confrontation with law enforcement in Cumberland County. According to Channel 6 ABC News reports, 19-year-old Jacob Servais was killed in the parking lot of a local car rental business. Investigators claim the shooting happened during an unspecified law enforcement operation conducted by the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office and Lower Township Police Department.


The Attorney General’s Office states that Servais was shot by a Cape May County detective and later died at Inspira Medical Center in Vineland. Unfortunately, it was not his first run-in with the law. Servais was facing charges after running from police in June 2018. During the chase, he crashed his car into a tree on Route 55 in Glassboro, resulting in the death of a 17-year-old passenger.


These types of incidents have become increasingly common. According to a July report by, there were more than 20 officer-related shootings in our state over the previous 12-month period, in which 13 people were killed as a result.


What to do When Stopped by the Police


Whether you are pulled over during a routine traffic stop or apprehended on foot, what you do in those few seconds has a large bearing on the potential outcome. In some cases, the wrong move could put you at risk for serious injuries or even result in your death. The New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) urges citizens to follow these tips:


  • Do not run. While your first instinct may be to resist or attempt to leave the scene, it is important to remain calm and not try to evade law enforcement.
  • Do not get aggressive. Avoid trying to argue with the police and keep your hands off officers and in sight at all times.
  • Do not appear to resist. If you are questioned or charged with a crime, do not appear to resist officers efforts in any way. There will be time to make your case once you are able to contact a criminal defense attorney.
  • Do not reach for items until instructed to do so. Whether you are in a car or walking, do not attempt to reach for your identification or other items until you have been instructed to do so by the officer.


While it is important to be cautious and cooperative with law enforcement, you do have specific rights. This includes the right to remain silent, which you can and should do, as well as the right to refuse consent to a search of your vehicle, home, or person.


Contact Our New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Right Away


At the Law Office Of Jordan B. Rickards, protecting your rights and safety is our top priority. If you are charged or ticketed, contact our New Jersey criminal defense attorney right away. We can arrange a one-on-one, confidential consultation to discuss the situation and how we can defend you.

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