SOCIAL ISSUES

Journalist arrested, NJ apologizes amid George Floyd protests

BY Michael Hill, Correspondent |

Asbury Park police were enforcing an 8 p.m. curfew as they arrested protesters and an Asbury Park Press news photographer who was streaming it all live on Twitter.

The curfew exempts credentialed media.

The state attorney general has apologized and promised to find out what happened, adding all charges would be dropped.

“Asbury Park is where we had the one that was a little bit less than peaceful incidents. We had a total of 12 people arrested last night,”  State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan said. “With regards to injuries, amongst the three law enforcement officers, one was struck in the head with a rock.”

Earlier in the evening, officers took a knee at the urging of protesters and some hugged.

In Jersey City, protesters marched through the streets and met officers in riot gear at a precinct.

“We’re not looking to be combative with the police. We’re looking to engage the community,” said Nevin Perkins, president of Black Men United.

Essex County law enforcers stood with Newark’s mayor Monday in condemning the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“What we all witnessed in Minneapolis was tragic beyond words and truly demoralizing to the righteous, hard-working men and women of our profession,” said South Orange Police Department Chief Kyle Kroll.

In Camden, county police marched with demonstrators in a city former President Obama commended for getting policing right.

“Sometimes when there’s a radical situation, there has to be radical change,” said Wasim Muhammad, president of the Camden Schoo Board and minister at Muhammad’s Temple No. 20. “And standing up with the new police force allowed Camden to be ahead of what we see going on with police relationships in most urban communities. Camden got ahead of it eight years ago, and what you see if the effect of the trust that some people have in Camden with the police force.”

In an open letter, Obama wrote “the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels. Voter turnout in these local races is usually pitifully low, especially among young people — which makes no sense given the direct impact these offices have on social justice issues.”

And Rutgers-Camden Law Dean Kim Mutcherson says the treatment of Floyd and officers knowing they were being recorded provide energy in this moment to inspire change.

“I think that shows you how deep the rot is, right? The idea that you can know that someone is filming you while you perpetrate enormous violence on a man who’s handcuffed and face down on the group says this is a person that has no respect for the man who’s neck his knee is on. That’s obvious, but it also says ‘I’m not scared of being accountable for this,'” Mutcherson said.

It was another violent night across the country. Across the river in New York, vandals targeted Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square. An officer pounded a looter in SOHO. In the Bronx, a car plowed into a police sergeant and attackers pounced on and beat up an officer.

It’s a contrast 25 miles north in White Plains and African American officers’ peaceful call to action and reforms now.

The White House urged governors to deploy the National Guard to “dominate” the streets. If they don’t, President Donald Trump said, “Then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

While the threat of invoking the 1807 Insurrection Act has sparked a legal debate, the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police has Americans debating how to prevent such incidents and wrestling with what to do about them.