PATERSON, NJ - With the family of Jameek Lowery preparing to bury their loved one on Friday, Mayor Andre Sayegh, flanked by more than a dozen community and faith based leaders, stood in front of a bank of television cameras on Thursday to restate his commitment to making sure the truth about the circumstances that led to his death on January 7 are revealed.
“I come here impatient, like all of you,” Sayegh declared.
Acknowledging the concerns of activists in the days since Lowery’s death, while careful not to cast blame, Sayegh offered that “trust in law enforcement has been eroded,” in Paterson.
Calling a seemingly strained relationship between police officials and African-American and Latino residents “a challenge faced by urban communities across the country,” Sayegh laid out a five point plan developed to “begin rebuilding trust.”
Included in that plan is the commission of a “top to bottom audit” of the Paterson Police Department from an independent authority; seeking funds to equip officers with body cameras; the creation of a Citizen Advisory Board whose members will be tasked with achieving transparency, increasing credibility, obtaining outside and independent opinions, and receiving feedback and support; making the attraction and retention of Paterson residents to serve as police officers a priority; and expanding the Chaplaincy program to include more training for officers in de-escalation, crisis intervention, and cultural and racial sensitivity.”
Referring to his comments as a “call for unity” Sayegh concluded by assuring residents that he has heard there concerns in the past days and will continue to demand accountability.
“I will own this work.”
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