Protests Over Death of George Floyd Mostly Calm, Attorney General Apologizes for Arrest of Journalist

Among several protests across New Jersey, Asbury Park was site of the only one that involved ‘less than peaceful’ incidents

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

The curfew exempts credentialed media.

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has apologized and promised to find out what happened, adding that all charges would be dropped. The protest was over the death in police custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

“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 Tuesday. “With regards to injuries, amongst the three law enforcement officers, one was struck in the head with a rock.”

Earlier on Monday, 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 Ras Baraka Monday in condemning the killing of Floyd.

“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.

Need for radical change

“Sometimes when there’s a radical situation, there has to be radical change,” said Wasim Muhammad, president of the Camden School 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 was the effect of the trust that some people have in Camden with the police force.”

In an open letter on June 1, Obama wrote that “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.”

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

“I think that tells 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 is handcuffed and face down on the ground says this is a person that has no respect for the man whose neck his knee is on. That’s obvious, but it also says ‘I’m not scared of being accountable for this,’” Mutcherson said.

Monday saw 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.

By contrast, 25 miles north in White Plains African American officers made a 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.

This post appeared first on NJTV News.