YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A wild chase that began when an ex-con recently released from prison nearly ran down a Paramus police at the Garden State Plaza ended with a foot pursuit through several backyards in Rochelle Park, authorities said this morning.
Jamaal Freeman, 28, was grabbed by Paramus and Rochelle Park officers several blocks from where he bailed out yesterday afternoon, Paramus Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg said.
Freeman, of Brooklyn, was released from state prison in May after serving nearly a year for leading State Police on a chase through Leonia, Teaneck and Englewood. His New Jersey criminal record the past eight years stretches from Bergen to Passic to Monmouth County — including a February 2006 arrest for shoplifting in several mall stores in Paramus.
After serving federal time for other crimes, Freeman was again arrested in Bergen County June 2011 following a chase. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced in January 2012 to three years — then was paroled in less than one, records show.
Yesterday’s chase began just before 12:45 p.m. when Officer Keith Bland, who was patroling in the area of Lord and Taylor in the Garden State Plaza, got a report of a credit card fraud inside.
Moments later, he spotted Freeman exit the JC Penney and went after him, Ehrenberg said.
Freeman pushed past the officer and took off across the parking lot, getting into a silver 2013 Nisan Altima with North Carolina license plates, the chief said.
As Bland caught up to him, Freeman “deliberately pulled out of the parking stall and headed toward the officer in order to hit him with the car,” Ehrenberg said.
Bland jumped out of the way and headed for his police car, as other officers converged on the mall.
Ehrenberg said they chased the Nissan south on Paramus Road and then east on Passaic Street. Freeman then took a left turn down Roosevelt Street in Rochelle Park — a dead end.
At the end of the block, he tried driving around a house but got wedged in, the chief said. So he bailed out and began running through backyards and over fences, the officers hot on his tail.
They caught up to him several blocks east, Ehrenberg said.
Freeman was being held on $50,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, eluding and possession of fraudulent credit cards.
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