SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ – Shortly after police charged and arrested Jamal Holmes for assaulting a man during a Black Lives Matter march along the Seaside Heights Boardwalk, a video surfaced on social media that showed Holmes may not have been the aggressor. On Friday, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said there was not enough evidence to charge Holmes, but added that police were in their right to detain Holmes after the incident. The simple assault charge by the Seaside Heights Police Department against Holmes has been dropped.
On August 18th, 2020, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office was reviewing the facts and circumstances surrounding an allegation of simple assault against Jamaal Holmes relative to an incident that occurred on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights on August 15, 2020. Prosecutor Billhimer encouraged anyone with information about the incident to contact OCPO detectives.
Detectives from the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office subsequently launched an extensive investigation into the incident that occurred on the Seaside Heights boardwalk on August 15, 2020. Several additional independent witnesses came forward or their names were provided by others as being present on the boardwalk that day. OCPO SIU Detectives attempted to contact fourteen individuals and interviewed ten witnesses that were willing to cooperate. OCPO SIU Detectives also reviewed all available surveillance footage from the boardwalk and video footage that Jamaal Holmes posted to his Facebook page.
Upon completion of this investigation, Prosecutor Billhimer reviewed all relevant evidence and ultimately determined that the Seaside Heights Police Department had probable cause to detain and arrest Jamaal Holmes for the Simple Assault of Robert Lay based upon the initial witness interviews conducted on August 15, 2020. Additionally, Prosecutor Billhimer concluded that none of the arresting officers acted criminally. Lastly, Prosecutor Billhimer came to the conclusion that sufficient credible evidence exists to create a reasonable doubt as to the State’s ability to prove the charge of Simple Assault beyond a reasonable doubt. As such, the Simple Assault charge against Jamaal Holmes will be administratively dismissed, in the interest of justice, today October 2, 2020.