A New Jersey state police sergeant won’t face criminal charges after he fatally shot and killed a Black man on the Garden State Parkway two years ago.

The state attorney general’s office said a state grand jury declined to charge Sgt. Randall Wetzel in the shooting death of 28-year-old Maurice Gordon. He died two days before George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, touching off a nationwide examination of the use of lethal force by police officers.

Gordon, an UberEats driver from Poughkeepsie known as “Junior,” interacted with six officers during four different encounters over a 28-hour span. But the officers were all unaware he’d been stopped before. When Sgt. Wetzel pulled him over, Gordon was speeding near exit 50, going 101 mph, authorities said.

Dashcam videos released by the attorney general’s office show Wetzel asked Gordon to move his car to the shoulder, but Gordon’s car wouldn’t start. Wetzel let Gordon wait inside the police cruiser for a tow truck. But Gordon can be seen trying to open the door several times as Wetzel motions him to get back in.

Today's vote of no true bill is another reminder that police accountability still escapes Black people in New Jersey.

William O. Wagstaff, attorney for the Gordon family

When Wetzel, who is white, opens the back door to give Gordon a mask, Gordon gets out and the two start fighting on the side of the highway, the videos show. Gordon then tries to get into the driver’s seat of the police car — twice — and Wetzel pepper sprays him. After more physical struggle, Wetzel fires his gun six times, killing Gordon.

Earlier encounters

In the hours prior to the shooting, Gordon had been pulled over for speeding or helped by police when he ran out of gas on the highway. In the videos of the multiple police stops Gordon can be heard telling one officer, “I'm trying to get to a very far place … to the end of the video game.”

Gordon’s death in May 2020 sparked calls to improve crisis intervention training for police amid a greater reckoning for police reforms across the country.

“Today's vote of no true bill is another reminder that police accountability still escapes Black people in New Jersey,” William O. Wagstaff, an attorney representing Gordon’s family, said in a statement. He called the news “another hindrance to the family’s grieving process.”

Wagstaff had previously called for an independent investigation into the death as the state police are part of the attorney general’s office.

“The way the New Jersey attorney general's office handled the careful curation and release of videos and information when Junior was first killed reflected what I believe was a predetermination that the state of New Jersey wanted Sgt. Wetzel exonerated,” Wagstaff said.

Wagstaff also filed an excessive force case in federal court last March against Wetzel, the state police and the attorney general’s office. The case remains pending.

State police didn’t respond to a request for comment or confirm whether Wetzel is back on the job. He was placed on paid administrative leave during the course of the investigation.