A state grand jury has voted not to file any criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding the death of an Old Bridge man who died during the course of an encounter with officers of the Old Bridge Police Department.
According to the investigation, at approximately 12:51 a.m. on July 15, 2019, officers were dispatched to the Stratford Apartments on Arcade Lane in Old Bridge in response to a 911 call reporting that an individual was coming down after having used ecstasy and was causing a physically violent disturbance inside a neighbor’s apartment, according to information provided by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office on Sept. 15.
When officers arrived in the apartment, they encountered the apartment’s resident attempting to control Frank Zampini, 49, of Old Bridge, who was flailing his arms around and fighting with the neighbor, who was attempting to restrain him, according to the statement.
Zampini was similarly combative with the officers and attempted to bite them. As a result, the officers placed him in handcuffs for his own protection, as well as their own. After being placed in handcuffs, Zampini momentarily calmed down.
A few seconds later, however, Zampini began vomiting and immediately thereafter became unresponsive, according to the statement.
Officers immediately took him out of the handcuffs, began CPR, and called for emergency medical technicians, who continued CPR upon their arrival.
Zampini was pronounced dead inside the apartment at 1:46 a.m.
An autopsy report prepared by the Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner, an independent office in but not of the Department of Health, concluded that Zampini’s cause of death was “excited delirium” induced by the combined effects of certain specified drugs, according to the statement.
The fatal police encounter on July 15, 2019, was investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to 16-23 New Jersey residents called to serve on the grand jury in accordance with Directive 2019-4, the “Independent Prosecutor Directive” issued in 2019, according to information provided by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
The investigation of this encounter included interviews of law enforcement and civilian witnesses, review of audio from a 911 call and a motor vehicle recording, and autopsy results from the medical examiner, according to the statement.
After hearing testimony and evidence from the investigation, the grand jury concluded its deliberations on Sept. 14 and voted “no bill,” meaning a majority of grand jurors found the actions of the officers who encountered Frank Zampini, 49, of Old Bridge, two years ago were justified and no charges should be filed against them.
A 2019 law, P.L. 2019, c. 1, requires the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. It requires that all such investigations be presented to a grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer or officers involved, according to the statement.