EXCLUSIVE: NY1 Obtains Video from Last Hours of Life of a Top State Judge
The NYPD says it has now gathered a large collection of videos from the last hours of the life of a high-profile judge before she was found dead in the river. NY1 Criminal Justice Reporter Dean Meminger has exclusively obtained some of that video as well.
Seen in the video above is surveillance video of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam walking in Harlem around 9:15 p.m. on April 11.
She was wearing the same clothing when she was tragically found floating in the Hudson River the following day.
"I am totally confused, and I just cannot understand. There has to be some kind of foul play," former Assemblyman Keith Wright said.
That's the sentiment of many people in the mysterious death of Abdus-Salaam, who was the first African American woman to be appointed to the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court.
NY1 exclusively obtained surveillance video of the judge walking on West 145th St., headed in the direction of Riverbank State Park, where police officers say they have video of her.
Harlem leaders say the judge walking the streets at night is baffling.
"Not only not clears the air and trying to reach some type of conclusive, but makes it far more mysterious and complex," former Congressman Charles Rangel said.
Police say they have video of the judge leaving her 131st St. brownstone around 8:50 and walking west to 7th Ave. and then traveling north.
She's also spotted at 135th and 145th St., and on three videos in the waterfront park.
Wright has known Abdus-Salaam since the 1980s. "We used to work together at the New York State Attorney General's Office," Wright said.
He doesn't believe speculation that the 65-year-old committed suicide.
"I am confused with what people are saying, because it doesn't jive or coincide with the Sheila Abdus-Salaam that I knew," Wright reflected. "It just doesn't make sense to me, in terms of taking her own life."
The medical examiner and NYPD have not ruled her death a suicide or a homicide as they continue to investigate and look for witnesses.
The judge's family denies reports she suffered with mental illness.
Detectives tell me they believe the judge walked around Riverbank State Park by herself for several hours.
They spotted her on video in the park after midnight, but they haven't found any footage that shows her being attacked or jumping into the water.