After Shootings, Groups Demand Peace at Newark Rally

By Michael Hill

In streets and homes and community centers New Jersey residents are still processing the deadly string of violence that maimed the nation last week. In Newark, the People’s Organization for Progress is holding a march and rally. Michael Hill is there.

Hill: Mary Alice, the People’s Organization for Progress has a lot of support. We saw some folks here from the ACLU, folks from the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition, Black Lives Matter and other organizations are here too demanding, as you can hear them, demanding justice because of some of the incidents, the deadly encounters, with police across the country, and of course some right here in New Jersey and in Newark. Larry Hamm is the head of the People’s Organization for Progress and we’re going to talk to him right now to find out exactly what this is all about and what the organization wants.

“Stop police brutality in the black community!”

Mary Alice, you can hear there as Larry Hamm is talking about stopping police brutality and there are others here too who are very upset with what they have seen so far across America. Sir, you’re with Black Lives Matter. What’s your name?

Protester: Will Strickland.

Hill: Why are you here?

Protester: I just left Essence Festival and I was only less than a mile from Baton Rouge. I stayed in a hotel in New Orleans by the airport and when I got home Tuesday night the following morning I found out that Alton Sterling had been brutally murdered by the police. It hurt me from my heart because I’m black, and not only do black lives matter, all lives matter at the end of the day but they have to stop shooting each other and respect one another. They could have tazed him, or just maybe tackled him, they didn’t have to kill him, take his life.

Hill: Mary Alice, as you heard there those are some of folks talking about what they want, not just black lives matter, as you heard the man right there say, but all lives matter. Some people here say that this is a matter of police training as well, and that’s an issue that was being addressed today. Briana Vannozzi got that for us in Monmouth County where there’s a vigil taking place later tonight — a vigil to remember the five officers killed last week in Dallas. Here’s what one member of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Department had to tell us about police training.

Shaun Golden, Monmouth County Sheriff: As we put classes through the academy, we are constantly going back and re-evaluating how their performance is with our current simulation training, our current firearms training, our current use of force training. Again, we meet and exceed the standards laid out by the Police Training Commission of the state of New Jersey at the Monmouth County Police Academy. But we all want to do better, and we look at all those post-briefings, including our shootings that happen here in the county and in other counties. Everybody learns from those types of incidents.

Hill: Now, as you can hear, they’re mentioning some of the names of the people that had some of these deadly encounters with police. The most recent ones, of course, Alton Sterling and Philando Castille in Minnesota.