Atlantic City police won’t face charges in fatal bike crash, grand jury rules

ATLANTIC CITY — A state grand jury has declined to charge a city police officer who struck a bicyclist crossing an intersection last year, the state Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday.

City resident Everett Stern, 63, was riding his bicycle through the intersection of Arkansas and Arctic avenues about 8:30 p.m. June 18, 2021, when he was struck by Officer Ahmed Waqar’s police vehicle.

Stern was taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus, where he died one week later.

The grand jury voted against charges after hearing testimony and reviewing interviews from witnesses, forensic evidence, video footage and necropsy results from the Southern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office said in a news release.

The Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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“Any loss of life is tragic, and I feel for the family,” Jules Schwenger, president of PBA Local 24, the union representing city police officers, said in a statement. “However, anyone who watched the video coverage of this incident came to the same conclusion as the OAG did. The officer was not at fault.”

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Waqar was responding to a call in a marked patrol vehicle when the accident happened. Neither the car’s lights or siren were on at the time Stern was hit, according to the Attorney General’s Office. Waqar was traveling through a green light north on Arkansas Avenue while Stern was traveling east on Arctic Avenue, colliding with the patrol vehicle’s driver’s side.

The video captured on a surveillance camera, shows Stern crossing the intersection before the rushing patrol vehicle suddenly enters the frame.

The officer immediately called for emergency responders and rendered aid to Stern, the investigation found.

The investigation into the crash is standard under Attorney General’s Office guidelines, requiring the agency to review deaths that happen during encounters with law enforcement.

In October, Andria Stern filed a lawsuit seeking monetary damages for Everett Stern’s death.

Andria Stern, who is identified in the litigation only as the administrator for Everett Stern’s estate, asserted Waqar was driving “negligently, carelessly and recklessly” when her relative was struck.

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An attorney for the city and Wagar sought to have the case dismissed last week, saying there was not merit to the claims.

Waqar remains with the Police Department in “full-capacity employment.”

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