Violence in Trenton & AC, But Most NJ George Floyd Protests Were Peaceful
Several small, protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody took place around New Jersey on Sunday — and even as looting, fires and clashes with police made headlines nationwide, almost all in New Jersey remained largely peaceful.
Floyd's death sparked violent protests and unrest in Minneapolis and St. Paul that spread nationwide and led to a lockdown of the White House on Friday. The four Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd's arrest have been fired. Officer Derek Chauvin, a white officer who pressed his knee down on the unarmed, handcuffed black man or eight minutes. was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
A march organized in Franklin Township in Somerset County drew a crowd of about 200, according to Director Quovella M. Spruill.
Video of the event posted by Denniston Bonadie showed a large crowd marching from the Franklin Middle School to Saint Sharbel Church, holding signs that read "No justice, no peace" and "End police brutality Black Lives Matter."
“It is important that we do not allow the events occurring around the nation to divide us now. We have work to do, but it is possible when we do it together," Spruill said in a statement, adding that her officers are held to the highest standards possible. She assured the community that "our officers will treat everyone they encounter with professionalism, dignity and respect."
Protesters were escorted by Long Branch police from Pier Village on Ocean Avenue through the city to police headquarters, according to the Asbury Park Press's coverage of the march. At headquarters the group chanted "hands up, don't shoot," according to the Press report.
Rahway mayor Raymond Giacobbe posted pictures of a protest in his city on his Facebook page.
"I support peaceful protest. We must learn to not only talk, but listen to one another. I’m very proud of my city," Giacobbe wrote.
A small group that gathered with signs in Princeton was joined by officer Courtney Navas, according to a message on the Princeton police Twitter account.
In Newark, Mayor Ras Baraka joined a march organized by the civil rights group The People's Organization for Progress, in protest against the police killing of Floyd. In Camden County, police took part in a Saturday unity walk, "to stand in solidarity and unity with all residents who are rightfully angered, concerned and upset about the actions of the officers in Minneapolis and the murder of George Floyd," Police Chief Joe Wysocki said in a written statement.
More vigils and marches are scheduled for Monday.
The Southern Burlington County, the Willingboro and Vicinity and the Greater Delaware Valley Branches of the NAACP are joining with the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office for a virtual candlelight vigil at 8:19 p.m. on Monday to mark one week since Floyd died.
"We invite members of the public, local police departments, houses of worship and community organizations to post on their Facebook page a simple photo of a lit candle and engage in eight minutes and 46 seconds of reflection over the LIFE of George Floyd and the tragic events that have unfolded in the aftermath of his death, including the violence that has erupted out of peaceful protests," the prosecutor's office wrote on its Facebook page.
A protest is planned in Asbury Park on Monday in front of the post office on Bangs Avenue, according to a statement from police, which denounced the action of the officers involved with Floyd's death.
Assemblyman Jamel Holley said a peaceful demonstration is scheduled for Tuesday with protesters in their cars driving on Woodbridge Avenue from the border with Edison to the Raritan Bridge.
“The demonstration will be focused on ensuring that George Floyd and all people of color receive fair justice. We will have handout sheets and booklets on action steps that will force the hand of local and statewide officials to prosecute all officers involved in the demise of George Floyd," organizer Ashton Burrell said.