At least three dozen New Jersey police officers packed the courtroom as the suspects who allegedly shot their fellow officer appeared before the judge.
The officers represented nearly every police department in Atlantic County, The Press of Atlantic City reported.
The date was Sept. 6, 2016, three days after Atlantic City Police Officer Josh Vadell was shot in the head and was still clinging to life, partially paralyzed.
Vadell was shot near the Caesars casino parking garage in Atlantic City when he and his partner were investigating a robbery, police said.
Vadell’s partner shot and killed one of the suspects, Jerome Damon, 25. The other suspects are 29-year-old Martel D. Chisolm, and 28-year-old Demetris Cross.
Chisholm and Cross were arrested by state police, and each charged with two counts of attempted murder, three counts of robbery and two counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. They also were charged with two counts of possession of a weapon, a firearm, for an unlawful purpose, and two counts of conspiracy to commit possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose.
The courtroom was full of spectators, in addition to Vadell’s supporters from law enforcement.
Judge Bernard E. DeLury had no objection to the large police presence in his courtroom.
The website Blue Lives Matter contrasted DeLury to Judge Craig Strong, a circuit court judge in Michigan who expelled uniformed police from his courtroom when they showed up at a hearing for a defendant who allegedly shot one of their officer colleagues.
Strong later said the officers were an intimidating presence.
When the website Mad World News re-posted the story of Vadell to its Facebook page on Oct. 1, it unleashed a torrent of critical comments about Strong.
“Judges like this need to be investigated and thrown off the bench,” wrote one person. “These thugs NEED to be intimidated. Then maybe they won’t go back out and do things like this again.”
As for Vadell, he spent about two weeks in the hospital, then about eight weeks in a rehabilitation center specializing in brain injuries. He went home on Nov. 8, 2016.
Although he is no longer completely paralyzed on his left side, he still has “left neglect,” he said in an interview with the Press of Atlantic City.
“Left neglect means I can feel it, but sometimes I forget it’s there,” he said. “As the brain heals, it will start coming back.”
At the time, he was still wearing a protective helmet, part of his skull having been removed until it can be replaced with synthetic material.