New Jersey police officer Eduardo Matute was praised by the Jersey City Police Department for catching a one-month-old tossed from a second-floor balcony on Saturday.
Jersey City police officers responded to a report on Saturday that a man was seen dangling the baby from a second-floor balcony on Rose Avenue. The baby was dropped, and Officer Matute caught the infant. The man was arrested. Amazingly, the baby was unharmed.
The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office praised the police officers who dealt with the incident, including Joseph Casey, Eduardo Matuto (Jersey City South District), and Incident Commander Captain Michael McKerry.
“An extremely dangerous incident developed this morning on Rose Ave in Jersey City in which a man was threatening a one-month-old baby. Kudos to the JCPD and all the officers involved for their heroics and for bringing a safe conclusion to this dangerous situation,” Esther Suarez, Hudson County prosecutor, said in a statement on Twitter.
“We especially want to acknowledge the actions & bravery of the negotiator and first-responding PO Joseph Casey, South District PO Eduardo Matute who safely caught the baby after being dropped from a 2nd floor balcony [sic] & Incident Commander Capt Michael McKerry. Thank you, Officers!” Suarez continued.
Officer Joseph Casey was setting up a perimeter to negotiate with the man dangling the baby when the baby was dropped or thrown and caught by Officer Matute. The man in the incident, who may have been mentally disturbed, was arrested at the scene.
According to Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione, a Jersey City spokesperson, the man who dropped the baby was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and endangering the welfare of a child. Wallace-Scalcione said an investigation is ongoing. The man has not been identified, she told CNN.
The one-month-old baby was taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution. The child was later discharged without incident.
Steve Fulop, mayor of Jersey City, N.J., praised Officer Matute and Jersey City Police in a post on Instagram. “We are lucky to have the men and woman of the JCPD, as every single day I see it firsthand they rise to meet any/all challenges,” the mayor said.
A Jersey City spokesperson also commented on social media, praising the officers at the incident.
“JCPD officers went above and beyond the call of duty once again, saving the life of a 1 month old baby under extremely stressful circumstances today,” the statement said. “Thank you to all of our #JCPD officers for your service.”
Jersey City Police Department use-of-force incident reports more than doubled from 2019 to 2020, and after the George Floyd protests last year, trust in police is at an all-time low. Incidents of police heroics are often released by Department Public Relations offices and widely publicized by city officials. New Jersey police were reportedly responsible for over 20 fatal shootings and more than 30 shootings causing injury from 2014 to 2017, department-published data reported.
Jersey City Police were responsible for at least two high-profile killings in the last year.
“Whether it’s rescuing a resident from peril, taking a moment to skateboard or shoot hoops with some neighborhood kids or countless other day-in-the-life scenarios, police ‘feel-good stories’ are great for public relations,” public relations officer Captain Carlson of the IACP says of “one purpose” of police public relations strategies to re-establish trust with the community.