Former Newark Cop Crespo Gets 27-Year Sentence for Fatal High-Speed Chase

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In the bustling city of Newark, New Jersey, a dramatic scene unfolded in the hallowed halls of justice, as former police officer Jovanny Crespo, aged 31, was handed down a disquieting 27-year sentence, for his lethal actions during a frenzied high-speed chase that took place more than five and a half years prior.

Presiding at the Superior Court, Judge Michael Ravin meted out this heavy sentence, borne of an urgent necessity to stem the tide of what he condemned as a hazardous “shoot-first, ask-questions-later” approach amongst law enforcement officers. Considering the severity of Crespo’s conduct back in January 2019, a hefty 20-year sentence was imposed for aggravated manslaughter, accompanied by a further seven years for aggravated assault.

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In a twist accentuating the severity of his crimes, Crespo’s sentences will be served consecutively. Additional six-year terms for official misconduct will concurrently punctuate the former officer’s lengthy stint behind bars. The gravity of his punishment hit home hard in the court, as Crescent’s family welled up in tears when the judge informed him he would not taste freedom for nearly 23 years.

The weight of the situation had already weighed heavily upon the court earlier in the proceedings when Crespo, with moist eyes, listened to the impassioned pleas of his mother and sister as they begged for merciful leniency. Displaying a somber demeanor, he rose to offer a succinct apology to the victims’ families.

The chilling details of the deadly chase emerged during court proceedings, with dashboard and body camera footage painting a harrowing picture of Crespo leaping from his car to fire thrice. The law in Essex County stipulates that a police officer’s resort to deadly force is only permissible when faced with “imminent danger” – a situation neither Crespo nor anyone else found themselves in that fateful January night.

The defense attorney, Isaac Wright Jr., attempted a passionate plea for leniency, arguing that Crespo was a greenhorn officer with less than two years on patrol. Wright also contended that fault lay with the superiors who failed to call off the ill-fated pursuit and inadequately trained the officer. This assertion was sharply rebutted by prosecutors, who affirmed that Crespo had completed an extensive six-month training period at the police academy, where he was introduced to the appropriate application of deadly force.

Judge Ravin held similar sentiments, acknowledging Crespo as “extensively trained.” He deemed the deadly, five-minute chase through the heart of Newark, which resulted in the tragic death of 46-year-old Gregory Griffin and left his passenger critically wounded, as an “abhorrent misuse of police power.”