Following a Change.org petition, a retired New Jersey police officer who killed a black teenager 26 years ago will lose his job at Rowan University.
On April 17, 1994, while on duty as a Glassboro officer, Peter Amico fatally shot 14-year-old Eltarmaine “L.T.” Sanders. Police said Sanders charged at Amico with a knife, but other witnesses — including the teen’s mother and cousin — disputed the officer’s account, sparking nightly vigils and protests.
A grand jury declined to indict Amico, who is white, and the U.S. Department of Justice chose not to take action on possible civil rights violations.
Amico retired from the Glassboro Police Department in 2009 and joined Rowan as a private contractor before becoming a full-time employee in 2010. He had been director of Rowan’s emergency management office, an administrative role responsible for preparing and responding to emergencies.
On Monday night, Rowan president Ali A. Houshmand said in a statement that amid a “national spotlight on social justice and police matters,” the school will not reappoint Amico at its Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday.
“Given the circumstances of Amico’s employment prior to serving at the university and the necessarily painstaking evaluation of Rowan’s institutional commitment to racial justice and equity, Amico’s employment will be discontinued,” Houshmand said in a statement.
“As a university, we believe black lives matter. We are looking hard at our own organization, our policies, structure and culture. We found we have work to do,” Houshmand added. “I am sure some of it will be more difficult and uncomfortable than we can imagine. We will be transparent in our transformation and look for opportunities to engage with the university community to bring about much-needed change."