A John F. Kennedy High School assistant basketball coach was arrested Wednesday evening after a short chase by detectives near McLean Boulvard, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Jimmie D. Smith, 41, an assistant basketball coach at John F. Kennedy High School, was waiting inside a sport utility vehicle in the parking lot of a Home Depot on McLean Boulvard yesterday, at around 6:40 p.m., when detectives from the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau approached him, after signaling they were law enforcement officers; Smith drove out of the parking lot onto 5th Avenue in an attempt to escape arrest. “Detectives activated the flashing lights on their vehicles and identified themselves as officers, but Smith allegedly attempted to drive away,” according to the office.
“As he sped out of the parking lot onto 5th Avenue, he allegedly struck the car of one of the detectives with his SUV,” reads a statement from the office. As Smith was speeding out of the parking lot he hit a vehicle belonging to one of the detectives before abandoning his vehicle, and running on foot through 5th Avenue. Detectives chased him down the street, until he was handcuffed, but prior to that he assaulted one of the officers who was trying to cuff him. “Detectives caught up to Smith, but before they could subdue and handcuff him, he allegedly assaulted and injured two of the detectives,” according to the office.
Detectives had “developed information through an investigation that Smith allegedly was dealing cocaine,” according to the office.
Officers found 7 ounces of cocaine ready for distribution inside Smith’s vehicle. “It’s alarming that this man who worked so closely with young students as a high school coach and instructional aide also allegedly was involved in drug dealing,” said John J. Hoffman, attorney general of New Jersey. “It’s fortunate that our detectives uncovered his alleged double life and arrested him, because there’s absolutely no room in our schools for criminals.”
Smith, a resident of Edmund Avenue, was the freshman basketball coach at the school, where he worked in that position since 2008. Smith has been employed at the Paterson Public School District for the past 14 years as a instructional aide.
Smith has been charged with drug possession and aggravated assault among other charges. If convicted he will face more than 20 years in prison. As of Thursday, he remains in Passaic County Jail on a bail of $500,000. “Smith faces very serious charges, including a narcotics charge that carries a sentence of up to 20 years in state prison,” said Elie Honig, director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Beyond that, he is charged with violently assaulting the detectives who arrested him. His high bail reflects the serious nature of the allegations against him.”