PATERSON, NJ - Church leaders from Paterson and beyond gathered with the family of Jameek Lowery on the steps of Paterson City Hall Wednesday to continue their calls for “justice” for the 27-year old father of three who died in the early hours of Monday at Saint Joseph’s University Medical Center.
While the scene, starting with a call from Reverend Allan Boyer of Bethel AME Church for police officers and the community to stay “calm, cool, and collected” as the investigation continues, was more subdued than the Tuesday night rally that attracted hundreds and led to tense standoffs between protestors and law enforcement, the core message, as articulated by activist Corey L. Teague who said that “we don’t want it to just be a hashtag, we are mobilizing for this family,” was no less passionate.
“We want justice for this young man,” he continued, adding that this was not simply a moment but rather a movement.
Speaking also was Archange Antoine, executive director of Faith in New Jersey, a multi-faith and multi-racial network of faith leaders and faith communities working together to advance a social and economic justice agenda at the local, state and federal level.
Echoing previous calls from activists and Lowery’s family for officials to move the investigation into the man’s death out of the hand’s of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Antoine used the opportunity to deliver a message directly to Governor Phil Murphy.
Urging him to sign what he referred to as the “independent prosecutor” bill Antoine said that “today is the time that Governor Murphy shows the State of New Jersey, the town of Paterson, the community, all of us that elected him and supported him that he stands with the people.”
The bill, passed by both the New Jersey State Senate and the New Jersey General Assembly, would give the New Jersey Attorney General the authority to conduct any investigation when a person’s death occurs during an encounter with law enforcement or while in the custody of law enforcement.
“The church is here,” Boyer concluded before inviting clergy and the Lowery family to his church at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday to discuss “strategy.”
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