Allentown, PA – A woman who witnessed the fatal shooting of a New Jersey man by South Whitehall Township police on July 28 posted videos she’d taken of the incident to Facebook and defended the officer involved (videos below).
“Sooo yes I was there. Worst timing or best timing idk yet. Everyone is making it seem like this Joseph Santos man is an innocent man at the hands of a killer cop,” Nadia Elizabeth posted to her Facebook page on Thursday.
“Nooooo ladies and gentleman that is not the case,” she said.
“Joseph Santos is a man that jumped the Dorney park Fence onto the street (Hamilton Blvd) and assaulted 3 different cars. He didn’t exit the park like a rational member of society but more of that of a criminal that was up to no good,” she added.
“I understand that those who are grieving want to demonize this officer whom was simply doing his job. I’m very sorry for your loss. I witnessed Joseph Santos act like a complete maniac and scare the lives of those behind the wheel. I was one of the many people who contacted the authorities to report this man. I had not come forward because it is not my intent for people to use me to demonize a man who was simply doing his job,” the witness continued.
“I have already met and spoken to the authorities and given my statement along with proof, they have the full length videos of this ‘saint man’ that wouldn’t hurt a fly. To those that are out there claiming that police brutality needs to be stopped, I ask you to stop being ignorant. Let’s get the facts straight before you open your mouth to comment about something you don’t know. I don’t wish death upon anyone but I sure as hell don’t wish for police officer to be demonized for doing his job,” Nadia Elizabeth wrote. “Yes I have videos of the shooting too. Honestly I don’t wish that in anyone’s head.”
The incident began at about 5:40 p.m. when police received a call about a man who was jumping on cars in the middle of moving traffic near Dorney Park and the Comfort Suites motel, WFMZ reported.
The dispatcher told responding officers that a caller “reported a male jumping on cars in front of Dorney Park.” The man was bleeding from the arm, the dispatcher said, according to Lehigh Valley Live.
In the first video captured by Nadia Elizabeth, 44-year-old Joseph Santos can be seen clutching to the side of a white sedan as it drove down the road. The car appeared to be slowing down as the frightened driver tried to figure out what to do.
A South Whitehall Township officer responded to the 911 call, and Nadia Elizabeth’s video showed him standing beside the driver’s door of the police SUV, with his hand on the roof. The window appeared to be closed.
The video showed that Santos slapped the roof of the car, and then walked to the front of the police patrol SUV and climbed onto the hood.
The police vehicle began slowly moving as the man climbed up onto the windshield of the SUV, the video showed.
In the final video below, Santos was leaning on the passenger side of the police vehicle as he stood in the grass on the side of the road. Then he struck the side mirror and stalked off away from the SUV.
That’s when the officer got out of his police cruiser and ordered Santos to get on the ground.
The video showed Santos turned around and began walking back toward the officer, as the officer yelled at him four times to get on the ground.
The officer waited until Santos got to within feet of him – and was still coming at him – before he opened fired on him, the video showed.
Five shots were fired by the officer, according to WFMZ. Santos was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest where he later died.
Police have not yet released the name of the officer who shot Santos.
Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said it was way too early to determine if the shooting was justified, WFMZ reported.
“I will make a finding and a full report. Until that time I’m not going to put out things piecemeal,” Martin said.
About 100 protesters gathered on Wednesday evening near the spot where Santos was shot to protest the police officer’s use of force.
Santos’ fiancé Juliana Valenzuela said her fiancé had a checkered criminal history, but said it didn’t justify the police shooting him.
“His past can’t justify why they blatantly murdered him,” Valenzuela told Lehigh Valley Live.
Superior Court records showed Santos had been sentenced to state prison at least four times between 1994 and 2006 in drug and burglary cases. He was sentenced to at least four years in each of those cases, Lehigh Valley Live reported.
He pleaded guilty in three other criminal cases involving drugs and burglary between 2011 and 2014, and got five year’ probation for each of those.
Santos pleaded guilty in June in Municipal court for failing to turn over drugs to law enforcement, as part of plea deal to reduce other charges, according to Lehigh Valley Live. In that case, he was fine, sentenced to a year of probation and had his driver’s license revoked.
You can watch the incident unfold in order from beginning to end in the videos below. NOTE: There are numerous videos. Keep scrolling down for more.: