Police Commemorate the December 10th Jersey City Mass Shooting
This past Thursday, December 10th, Mayor Steven M. Fulop, hundreds of law enforcement officers from varying departments including Jersey City Police Department and the family of Detective Joseph Seals, gathered at Bayview Cemetery to commemorate the life and service following the one year anniversary of the Jersey City shooting that led to the detective’s death, as well as the deaths of 3 others in an anti-Semitic hate crime.
Detective Joseph Seals, on the morning of December 10th, 2019, was at Bayview Cemetery on Garfield Avenue to meet a source regarding another police matter. Seals would later come into contact with David Anderson and Francine Graham, members of the Black Hebrew Israelites group, at the cemetery, who were suspects in the death of a delivery driver earlier that week in Bayonne as well as a shooting at a Jewish community members that week also. That confrontation led to the pair fatally shooting and killing the officer, ultimately thwarting the assailants’ original plans to cause more widespread devastation. The pair proceeded to fatally shoot three more people at a kosher grocery store on Martin Luther King Drive as well as wound 2 other police officers and a bystander in a nearly 3 hour long gun battle before they were killed by police.
Jersey City Police Chief Mike Kelly remembered Joseph Seals, a husband, brother and father of five, as a “cop star”. Like the many other faces that hang on the wall of the Chief’s office, Joseph is a star cop who “…gave the ultimate sacrifice” in the line of duty protecting this city during the Jersey City shooting. “No matter what angle that you stand in my office, you see cop stars and it motivates me every day, every single day. And Joe Seals was no different” stated the police chief.
The ceremony started with remarks from both the Mayor and Chief Kelly followed by a private wreath-laying at the memorial marker, although the detective is not buried here, with members of Seals’ family that was closed to the press. The ceremony ended with helicopter flyovers from the New Jersey State Police, Newark Police Department and Department of Homeland Security and a Q&A with the Mayor, public safety officials and members of the press.