CONGRESSMAN ALBIO SIRES
“George Floyd was killed by the very people who are supposed to protect our communities. When Derek Chauvin ignored his pleas of “I can’t breathe”, he ignored Mr. Floyd’s humanity, something that happens far too often in this country. We cannot pretend to be a just and fair nation when our brothers and sisters cannot go for a jog, sleep in their own home, or live their lives without the threat of violence and death. While the violence we’ve seen taking over peaceful protests is indefensible, it is long past time for us to reckon with the deep flaws and divisions that exist in our society and justice system. For Mr. Floyd and every single soul that we have lost to racism and hate, we must actively pursue justice and work to create a world where future generations do not have to live in fear.”
GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY
It may seem a half a country away, but we’re all in this thing together. There is no doubt that the centuries-old stain of systemic racism is far from being erased from the fabric of this country. We also know that the overwhelming majority of our law enforcement officers believe strongly in the communities they have sworn to protect. But what we are seeing right now in Minneapolis is painful, almost too painful, in fact, to watch. And perhaps that’s because it’s not the first time we have seen such horrific pictures on our screens.
George Floyd should be alive today, not just as a matter of principle or of justice, but as a matter of human dignity. As a matter of our nation living up to one of our most basic founding ideals, that all are created equal. His life mattered as much as mine, or my wife’s or our kids or any of yours. We’ve seen these images before in New York, in Ferguson, in Baltimore, and in countless other cities, large and small. Too many times have we gotten a national wakeup call, and then gone about doing nothing about it. We cannot just expect someone to be fired and that be the end of it. That’s a feel-good action that doesn’t solve a systemic problem.
We need to dig a deeper well of accountability and responsibility, and we need to draw from it. Not just in Minneapolis but everywhere, including right here. We can lead this effort, in fact, in New Jersey. We have passed laws to ensure accountability, and I see Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s Excellence in Policing Initiative as how we will stay a leader and a model for smart policies that lead to safer communities, stronger trust and a better future. Pat Callahan knows this as much as anyone. As we are coming together to defeat this pandemic, let us endeavor to come together, to strengthen the bonds that bring us together as New Jerseyans and as Americans. Let us be a part of the solution.
SENATE MAJORITY CONFERENCE LEADER VIN GOPAL
O cannot, and should not pretend that I have ever experienced the plight or experiences of America’s black community—but I want to understand, and I stand with our black community in their fight for justice. Watching this video was sickening, inhumane, disgusting and horrifying. Point blank – it was murder sanctioned by individuals sworn to protect us. The officers involved in the murder of George Floyd without a doubt failed to uphold their oath to protect and serve. This should not discount the tens of thousands of officers who risk their lives each day upholding their oath and protecting their communities, but we must also understand that benevolent words and apologies from upstanding members of law enforcement will not undo the pain of generations of pain, anguish, and oppression. We need action.
We cannot afford to let this tragedy pass into yesterday’s headlines. America needs healing, and our black community deserves justice for the bigotry and systematic prejudice that many black Americans face every day. Abusive and prejudiced police officers must be held accountable for their actions, and good police officers must be empowered to speak up if they see something wrong—not pressured or shamed into staying silent.
This incident is not an isolated one, nor does the violent policing of black Americans exist in a vacuum. Today’s conflicts grew from seeds first planted four hundred years ago, and have been nurtured and twisted by decades of segregation and prejudice. Addressing this problem will take accountability, proper bias training, support for community policing, and the installation of a culture that punishes abuse and rewards integrity. We cannot solve the problem of systemic racism overnight, but we can and must come together as a nation to agree that it exists, to heal the wounds in our nation’s psyche, and to make sure that this kind of tragedy never happens again.
CONGRESSMAN BILL PASCRELL, JR.
The video of Mr. Floyd’s asphyxiation is one of the most upsetting things any of us has ever watched. It was a wicked, evil act. If the local prosecutors won’t act, the Department of Justice must investigate and prepare charges. Justice must be clear, complete, and decisive.
But while complete justice for Mr. Floyd is essential, his death is yet one more example of the violence inflicted on our African American communities. Each day, Africans Americans find their lives under threat by the very people and institutions meant to protect them. Just this week the Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on why our African American neighbors are dying at a higher rate in this pandemic. Millions of African Americans are angry, they are frustrated, and they are tired because of the injustices they face.
The civil unrest that has unfolded since Mr. Floyd’s death is disturbing and itself indefensible. Violence begets violence, and violence can never be an answer. But until we grapple with the malevolent racism that likely killed Mr. Floyd openly, frankly, and productively, America will never be truly equal for all of our neighbors. Grieving and even justice are not enough. We need unvarnished honesty too.”
JERSEY CITY MAYOR STEVE FULOP
I have tried to make it a personal policy over the years to not post on issues which didn’t happen in Jersey City, however, the murder of George Floyd is different. It speaks to the centuries old racism and biases that have existed in our country and sadly still exist today,” the mayor said.
I know growing up white in America it is impossible for me to fully appreciate the hardships and struggles that a person has knowing that they are often treated differently solely because of the color of skin; however not being able to experience that firsthand doesn’t change my disgust for what we see time and again with regards to police brutality and racial bias towards the African American community.”
DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE WILL CUNNINGHAM
I was thirteen when my teenage Black body was treated with excessive force.
I was thrown down and handcuffed by police, who assumed I was a full-grown man because of my size. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time—and for Black Americans, that can be, at minimum, an excuse to be searched and assumed guilty. At maximum, it’s a death sentence.
The murders of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia have weighed heavily on me. It’s hard to find words through the hurt. The images and videos are like reliving traumas within our own lives.
Countless Black Americans can tell you a story like mine—like George’s, Ahmaud’s, and Breonna’s—about themselves, a friend, or a family member.
We must demand a full and thorough investigation of these murders that ends in accountability for the lives lost. While Donald Trump may choose to use Twitter to incite violence against exhausted Americans reliving the trauma that this country has forced upon them, we will not bow to his hate, to ignorance, or to the struggle ahead of us.
We will keep fighting these abounding injustices.
I told you I was in the wrong place at the wrong time for my own story. That’s not completely true. Because I am in the right place—my America, our America. And I am determined to fight for the right for our America to be a place where we hold systems of power and the people that run them accountable when they incite, promote, and commit violence.
DEMOCRATIC STATE CHAIRMAN JOHN CURRIE
The oldest wounds in our country have once again been torn open. As Governor Murphy said at his briefing, George Floyd should be alive today. Not just as a matter of principle or of justice, but as a matter of human dignity and of our nation living up to one of our most basic founding ideals, which is that all of us are created equal.
This tragedy is another reminder of how far we have yet to go within our society. From Ahmaud Arberry, to Breonna Taylor, to the countless names before them, too many have suffered. I join the many diverse organizations and leaders, from community advocates to elected officials to police organizations, who have called for justice for George Floyd. The only way forward is to come together in mutual understanding and respect. Once time passes and we are more removed from raw emotions, we must continue the necessary, and sometimes uncomfortable, conversation about how to heal the divisions in our country.”
ATTORNEY GENERAL GURBIR GREWAL
Today, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrested Officer Derek Chauvin, taking an important first step in the search for justice following the tragic death of George Floyd. Like so many others, I was horrified by the footage of Mr. Floyd’s death, and I hope that law enforcement officials across the country continue to make clear that abusive police practices will not be tolerated.
Mr. Floyd’s death reminds us that our country has a long way to go not only in healing our nation’s racial divides, but also in addressing the systemic and implicit biases that prevent all Americans from equally securing our country’s great promises. Now more than ever, we must redouble our commitment to building trust between law enforcement and the people they serve, especially those from historically marginalized communities.
Here in New Jersey, we are absolutely committed to a criminal justice system that is fair, transparent, and free of bias. This past December, we rolled out a sweeping set of statewide policy reforms, known as the Excellence in Policing Initiative, to promote the culture of professionalism, accountability, and transparency that are hallmarks of New Jersey’s best law enforcement agencies. But we must do more, and we are committed to working with our partners in law enforcement and the broader community to identify additional opportunities for improvement.
Unfortunately, there remain occasions where an officer uses violent force against civilians without justification. We condemn such actions, not simply because they are wrong, but also because they do a disservice to the vast majority of law enforcement officers committed to upholding the highest standards of the profession.
We also prosecute such cases criminally and through the police disciplinary process. As Attorney General, I oversee the investigation of use-of-force cases in this State, a role that makes me particularly sensitive to the difficulties of investigating and prosecuting such cases. My role as Attorney General also prevents me from commenting on individual cases, even where the publicly available information is horrifying and the conduct at issue unconscionable.
The residents of New Jersey should rest assured that we will never tolerate the types of police practices that resulted in Mr. Floyd’s death. As part of our Excellence in Policing Initiative, we created new mechanisms for reporting allegations of police misconduct, including a standardized reporting form that must be offered by every police department in New Jersey. We take police-misconduct allegations seriously, and we are committed to ensuring justice and accountability for every resident of this state.
TRENTON MAYOR REED GUSCIORA
As a human being, a son, an attorney, a municipal prosecutor, a state lawmaker, and the mayor of a racially diverse city that has played an integral role in shaping the American experience and the civil rights movement, I am outraged by the senseless death of Mr. George Floyd.
I believe that the police officers involved in this deadly incident, led by Derek Chauvin, should be indicted for their actions. I stand with the family of Mr. Floyd. I stand with the law enforcement officers and leadership across America who have condemned this egregious act. I wholeheartedly agree that it demands a complete examination by top investigators, including the FBI.
Although I do not condone the violence and destruction that we’ve witnessed in Minneapolis, I empathize with the desperation and frustration fueling this response. Mr. Floyd’s death is provocative and shocking and a clear illustration of the widening rift between law enforcement and our communities — particularly communities of color and immigrants.
In Trenton, where we are deeply proud of our culture and history, we are working hard to ensure that what is happening in the great city of Minneapolis does not spill over into our streets. Trenton Police Director Sheilah Coley, a 30-year veteran of law enforcement who leads the Trenton Police Department, is actively engaged in managing and deploying our hardworking police officers and personnel to control gang activity, violent crime, crimes against property, and financial crimes. The department’s community relations division is committed to strengthening police-community relations in all corners of our city, involving thought leaders and activists, community organizations and homeowners and renters.
We stand in solidarity to seek justice for Mr. Floyd.
DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE ROBERT TURKAVAGE
I applaud the decision of the United States Department of Justice to initiate a federal criminal investigation into the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This investigation will address alleged police misconduct related to this specific event.
As horrific as the images of Floyd’s last moments are, however, they are only the latest in a series of very troubling actions by police officers in the city of Minneapolis. Other recent actions include the 2017 shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond by a police officer in 2017, who was later convicted of her murder; the shooting two years ago of Thurman Blevins, an African American male who pleaded with two white officers not to shoot him in a fatal encounter that was captured on body camera footage, and the shooting of Chiasher Fong Vue, a Hmong man, who was killed in 2019 after a shootout with police who fired more than 100 bullets. Collectively, these incidents are indicative of systemic deficiencies in training, supervision, or both, by members of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), which may have contributed to the actions noted above.
Press reports indicate that in 2015, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) released a report detailing the MPDs “ineffective system” for tracking problematic MPD personnel, and made specific recommendations for addressing this issue. It is unknown if the MPD ever followed through with the DOJ recommendations.
In view of the MPD police actions described above, the initiation of a parallel “patterns and practices” civil investigation by the DOJ is warranted. Separate and apart from the criminal investigation, the purpose of the patterns and practices investigation will be to determine if there are systemic problems within the MPD that are contributing to systemic (as opposed to individual) violations of citizens’ rights under the Constitution or federal law. A finding of a pattern or practice of misconduct by the MPD will likely result in a negotiated agreement with the City of Minneapolis. Such an agreement will contain specific remedies that will be incorporated into a court order. Compliance with the court order will be overseen by a court-appointed monitor.
The DOJ criminal investigation will address any criminal activity associated with the death of Mr. Floyd while in police custody. The parallel DOJ civil investigation is needed to identify and remedy any identified problems within the MPD; restore trust between the citizens of Minneapolis and the police, and bring about more effective policing that is compatible with both an individual’s civil rights and the rule of law.
DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE AMY KENNEDY
George Floyd was needlessly murdered in the streets of Minneapolis this week. He was the most recent victim in a seemingly endless string of acts of violence against people of color in America. This isn’t a time for silence. Silence is acceptance. It’s a time for all people of conscience to stand up and say enough. The police officers guilty of this crime need to be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But that’s just a start. There are moments in history that grab us and demand that we change. That happened in 1968 and another moment is upon us now. We have a President and an administration that has encouraged racism, hate groups and has condoned violence. Leadership matters and we need some new ones in America. People of color in America in the 21st century need to be able to send their children out without fear that they will be attacked because of the color of their skin. And they need to know that the people who have sworn to protect and serve them are there to do exactly that. It’s time to take action, to raise our voices and to stand in solidarity with Americans who bear the burden of injustice.”
SENATE PRESIDENT STEVE SWEENEY
In joining with others in mourning the death of George Floyd, sympathizing with the suffering of his family and condemning the actions that led to the death of Mr. Floyd, we must recognize that this tragedy calls on us to do more.
As a country with equal rights, we must be clear that the mistreatment of anyone based on race is an assault on the values of American society. Though the majority of our law enforcement officers do their jobs honorably, we must ensure no one lives in fear for their own safety or the safety of a loved one because of the color of their skin.
As Americans, we can do better. We are capable of bringing greater justice to the way we live and in making progress without any more violence or loss of life. Let’s honor the tragic death of Mr. Floyd and respect the terrible loss of his family by working together peacefully for the equal justice everyone deserves.”
ASSEMBLY SPEAKER CRAIG COUGHLIN
Americans and fellow New Jerseyans are right to be angry. Our state and nation grieve for George Floyd, his family and friends. His tragic and senseless death offends our cherished commitment as a state and nation to equal justice and equal rights. When that commitment is breached we all suffer. Let us not tolerate that suffering.
We entrust law enforcement officers to keep us safe. That is a trust that should never be broken, and we must acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of New Jersey’s police officers conduct themselves honorably and professionally.
So today let us rededicate to ourselves, together, to stand strongly in favor of justice, and in that way we honor Mr. Floyd.”
REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE KATE GIBBS
My heart breaks for George Floyd’s family and all who are rightfully outraged by his murder. I support all those who peacefully protest this injustice. This pain can’t be healed by violence. We must come together, have tough conversations and take action that leads to real change.
UNION CITY MAYOR/STATE SENATOR BRIAN P. STACK
The tragic death of Mr. George Floyd represents a complete breakdown of what our country was founded upon. It serves as a painful reminder of the failings of our society and demands for us to do better. The base of our democracy depends on our ability to change the narrative about race in this country and to bring justice to those who have been discriminated against by those who swore to serve and protect them. Over the last few months, our “new normal” has placed a tremendous amount of stress upon all of us, but, in difficult times, we have always stood together in solidarity as one community. It is my hope that these horrific events do not drive a wedge between the relationships the police department have with the community. If we are going create change for the betterment of Union City, we must do so together.
UNION CITY POLICE CHIEF NICHELLE LUSTER
I am deeply saddened and disturbed by the events in Minneapolis. The actions that resulted in the death of Mr. George Floyd are contrary to New Jersey police training standards and contrary to New Jersey law. The conduct of that former officer erodes the trust that we work so hard to establish within our communities and mars the reputation of hard-working law-enforcement professionals everywhere. Police Officers have a duty and a responsibility to serve with compassion, proficiency, and respect. Anything less is unacceptable. I am proud of the relationship my department has with our residents. Only through partnership, communication, constructive criticism, and understanding of individual differences, can we be successful. My heartfelt thanks go out to the Union City community for your continued support.
REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE JACK CIATTARELLI
We are not powerless, nor can we be hopeless. To be either is to surrender and further dishonor George Floyd. Instead, let us honor him by rededicating ourselves to a better existence, making our community better, and fulfilling our individual and sacred obligation to our country, accepting, yet once again, the challenge given to us by a grieving Civil War President: “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”
SENATE MINORITY LEADER THOMAS KEAN. JR.
I pray for George Floyd’s family and friends. Justice must be served. The video is gut-wrenching & there is no excuse for this preventable tragedy. I hope everyone remains safe in their public demonstrations & all protests remain peaceful. We must unite & find solutions together.
CLINTON MAYOR JANICE KOVACH AND POLICE CHIEF CORY KUBINAK
As the world has watched yet another senseless death because of a horrible decision by a police officer, and the officers who stood by and did nothing, we must pause a moment and reflect: What role have we played in this behavior that has become more and more frequent? It is difficult to watch those who are responsible for the safety of our citizens disregard the value of life.
We cannot sit back and ignore this heinous behavior without calling it out for what it is – a violent act of racism. We must act, or we are no better than those who have taken the life of George Floyd.
As Mayor I am tasked with ensuring the welfare of our community. I take that responsibility seriously. We are beyond lucky to live in a community that is safe for all families, because we have a Police Department with officers who are a part of our community. They were chosen because of the value they have for life and their ability to contribute to the health and safety of our community.
As Chief of Police, every single one of my officers share my values. They place the health and public safety of this community above all else. They would not stand idly by while one of their own senselessly took the life of another, and neither would I.
To anyone who would question our commitment to the safety of our community: There is zero tolerance for unethical or racist behavior within the Town of Clinton Police Department. My fellow officers and I will not tolerate the behavior that led to the terrible death of George Floyd, and we want to reassure you that we are trained to do what is right. If we fail to do our duty we will be punished by law.
Together we call on all members of law enforcement and elected officials to join us in denouncing this behavior publicly and saying “NO MORE.”
DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE BRIGID CALLAHAN HARRISON
We have been witness to an historic few days for the entire country – and hopefully, with the right, needed leadership and vision we will find the power to adapt, change and listen, to what Lincoln once called, our ‘better angels’.
This weekend, while so many of us mourn, parents throughout South Jersey and the country are attempting to translate the images we are seeing on television to our children and explain our country’s past – and too many families still live on a daily basis with the racism and hatred that permeates our society.
In an era in which the President of the United States embraces white supremacists and Jeff Van Drew pledges undying support to that president, we all know that a lack of leadership is part of the problem.
The Trump era has meant that deep-seated institutionalized racism, bigotry and hatred has again become legitimized and supported on the national stage. I have witnessed first-hand the new level of empowerment felt by racists in my own multi-racial family. But the optimism that we have all seen emerge in our country during our darkest hours, can provide us the opportunity to change. As my friend U.S. Sen. Cory Booker stated it eloquently, ‘The question isn’t are you or are you not a racist. The question is what are you doing about it? You can’t just not be racist. You have to be anti-racist. You have to be actively confronting it.’
We know that the deep-seated racism that permeates our society cannot be changed overnight, but the struggle for civil rights in the United States has taught us that the true ideals of democracy is our most powerful ally in addressing hatred and discrimination.
Over the next several weeks, as I have over the past several days, I will continue connecting and listening to the stories and experiences of black and brown men and women in our many communities, family members and friends, experts and citizens to craft a series of specific policy proposals that will provide measurable action to obtaining results and strengthening South Jersey’s voice during this important moment. But right now, as we begin this new work week, like many parents around the country, I want to share that I am simply heartbroken for both our country and so many people of color who have continued to watch person after person die at the hands of people who are supposed to protect them.
Time and time again, our country has failed families like the Floyds, who are now dealing with a loss and a void that no family should ever bare. And time and time again, our work as parents continues into a new week.
Like the millions who have shared their voice, I am angry, full of emotion, and stand united in protest of the murder of George Floyd.
If we choose, we can find strength to sustain our emotions beyond this initial moment, so we can propel solutions.
If we choose, the darkness we are all feeling as the close of this weekend can become a beacon that creates the light that is so needed at this moment in our country’s history.
NEW JERSEY PBA
The horror in Minneapolis is contrary to all training and nobody in law enforcement can see that video and think there is justification. Our condolences go to the Floyd family, his loved ones and everyone who is grieving.
CONGRESSMAN CHRISTOPHER SMITH
The murder of George Floyd while in custody by a Minneapolis police officer demands justice—and an absolute recommitment by law enforcement and policymakers to always ensure that any person taken into custody is treated with respect, nonviolence and professionalism.
I watched the video of Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of Mr. Floyd who pleaded “I can’t breathe” with horror and disbelief.
Chauvin not only betrayed his solemn duty to serve and protect but he betrayed, as well, police officers throughout the nation who serve with honor and make enormous sacrifices to enforce the law.
In the pursuit of justice, local and federal prosecutors including the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights division are rigorously investigating.
ATLANTIC COUNTY SHERIFF ERIC SCHEFFLER, FREEHOLDER CAREN FITZPATRICK, SURROGATE CANDIDATE STEPHEN DICHT AND FREEHOLDER CANDIDATE THELMA WITHERSPOON
“We were saddened to see yesterday’s vibrant, peaceful protest hijacked by non-Atlantic City residents that incited violence. These individuals exploited the emotions of Atlantic County residents mourning the murder of George Floyd in order to loot and destroy small businesses in Atlantic City.
“We fully support the efforts of the peaceful protestors who seek to end institutional racism in our country. Dr. King once said ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ We must continue to speak out and make our voices heard, but we condemn in the strongest possible terms anyone who tries to destroy our great city.”
HAMILTON MAYOR JEFF MARTIN
Like so many in our nation, I am deeply saddened over the senseless murder of George Floyd. I stand with all who have peacefully demonstrated in the name of justice and a call to end systemic racism and racial inequality.
While we are a nation grieving for those tragically killed, we cannot allow our message of ‘liberty and justice for all’ to be muted by the looting and violence seen over the weekend across our country, including the senseless destruction in Mercer County last night. Violence that hurts our residents and our businesses, who are already suffering due to the pandemic, does not help to seek justice for Mr. Floyd and countless others before him.
We as humans are inherently imperfect but must not let the negative work of the few, destroy the positive work of the many. I implore all of us to stand together peacefully. We must set a better example so the world our children are raised in, is one we can all be proud of.
Last night, Hamilton’s first responders, and specifically our Hamilton Police Department, exemplified their professionalism and commitment to keep all of Hamilton safe. They chose a profession that puts them out on the front lines instead of being home safe with their families. Our police officers and firefighters are working around the clock to ensure we remain as protected as possible. I hope you all join me in thanking them for their continued service and remarkable courage.
Hamilton is coordinating our continued preparedness with our Mercer County partners. To that effect, we are joining Trenton in instilling a curfew tonight that will begin at 7pm and end at 6am on Tuesday, June 2nd. This curfew orders all businesses to close and all residents to be home as of 7pm tonight. We believe neighboring towns will also do the same to form a regional curfew to protect our residents and businesses.”
REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE JOHN MCCANN
My sincere condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family for their tragic loss.
REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE DAVID RICHTER
Like most Americans, I was saddened by the senseless killing of George Floyd at the hands of an out-of-control police officer, someone who was entrusted to protect the citizens of Minneapolis and instead killed a defenseless man. My sympathy goes out to Mr. Floyd and to his family and friends. Conduct like this is unacceptable and I hope that police officer gets the punishment that justice requires for his violation of both his duty and the law.”
This officer’s actions, however, should not and must not undermine the public’s trust in our nation’s law enforcement. One rogue officer is not representative of the vast majority of the men and women in blue who place their lives in harm’s way every day to keep all of us safe and secure. Disrespect for law enforcement and our legal system leads to the very situation we have seen occurring all across America this past weekend, and that is also unacceptable.”
Americans of all races have every right to equal treatment under the law, as guaranteed by our Fourteenth Amendment. They also have the right to be outraged and to engage in protest when unequal protection occurs, and that is guaranteed by our First Amendment. But far too many other people over the past few days have used these legitimate protests as an excuse for unlawful violence, looting and other criminal behavior. These actions dishonor Mr. Floyd and the many citizens peacefully protesting his death. I completely condemn these criminal activities.”
Our nation, in fact our entire civilization, is built on the rule of law. As Americans we should all be concerned by what is happening and how easily so many are willing to break the law. I call on our political leaders to do everything they can to quickly restore respect for our laws and the trust and confidence of all Americans in our law enforcement system. The future of our great nation depends on it.”
EAST BRUNSWICK MAYORAL CANDIDATE JESAL AMIN
The actions taken against George Floyd are horrific and have no basis in recognized police practices. Communities across the nation have every right to be outraged, and as a person of color and minority, I share their pain. However, any violence and bloodshed will only fan the flames of division and are counterproductive to affecting real change.
As a young boy growing up in India, I looked up to Gandhi as a role model for his peaceful and non-violent methods. Gandhi was also an inspiration to Dr. Martin Luther King and showed how peace and non-violence can inspire a generation and affect real change.
East Brunswick is fortunate to have a top-notch police department that has maintained strong relations with members of the community, but there is always work to do. As Mayor, continually strengthening relations between the police department, municipal government and Township residents so that everyone can feel safe and at home in East Brunswick.
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN NICHOLAS SCUTARI AND ASSEMBLYWOMAN LINDA CARTER
NEW JERSEY STATE CONFERENCE NAACP PRESIDENT RICHARD SMITH
Just over a week ago, yet again, an all too familiar scene of abuse of power and blatant racism was captured on video as the world witnessed the savage killing of George Floyd. For over eight minutes, Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on the neck of a handcuffed Mr. Floyd, ignoring pleas of bystanders to stop and check vital signs until Mr. Floyd went limp and remained in that position for several more minutes. These deplorable and unwarranted actions were witnessed by three other Minneapolis Police officers, whose decision to do nothing for the sake of humanity makes them complicit in the callous crime that’s been committed. Therefore, they too must be held criminally responsible for their inaction, and punished to the fullest extent of the law. We will NOT rest until they are held accountable!
For black people, suffering at the hands of police is an undeserved expectation in our communities. Unfortunately, this nation is complicit with the demonization & criminalization for simply being black or suffering disproportionate punishment for being black, particularly in comparison to our white counterparts. For this reason, we make up 37% of America’s prison population, but only 13% of the total population.
Centuries of institutional racism has brought us to the point where a black man accused of forgery is murdered by a police officer for all to see. On the contrary, when white perpetrators actually commit murders, such as Dylann Roof taking the lives of nine black parishioners in Bible Study, he was arrested without any use of force or brutality. In fact, even as a murder suspect, Dylann Roof instead was afforded a meal from Burger King.
While this incident took place in Minnesota, we must acknowledge that these are NOT isolated incidents. Systemic racism throughout the continuum of the criminal justice system must be reformed locally and nationally.
The uprisings taking place in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Kentucky, Los Angeles and other locations across this country are a direct result of the anger, fear, sadness, and distrust that have festered for years throughout our community. Enough is enough. We Are Done Dying.
Right here in New Jersey, statistics show that police are still more likely to use force against black people and other minorities versus whites. Black people are more likely to be arrested, fined, and incarcerated at higher rates than their white counterparts who commit the same offenses.
Our communities are angry and saddened, but we must be strategic and measured as we battle this latest grave injustice. The NAACP will not rest until we see these officers charged and convicted for the murder of George Floyd. We must keep our focus on redressing the systemic racism against our community that led to this tragedy, and others. We’re in this fight, but we can’t afford to lose any more Black sons and daughters. We must protest peacefully, demand persistently, and fight politically. But most of all, we must vote in all elections!
My brothers and sisters, we have our work cut out for us, in our own backyard! The death of George Floyd must be a catalyst towards positive change. It is time for us to unite and put an end to police brutality and racism. The time is NOW!