NEW JERSEY — Eight days after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, New Jersey has seen at least 21 protests across the state.
Gov. Phil Murphy in a press conference Wednesday said these have been peaceful demonstrations, despite the crowds at some — with Mayor Michael Soriano estimating as many as 4,000 people marching in Parsippany.
“There has been extraordinary behavior up and down our state over these past number of very trying days in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, a man that by any measure should be alive and well today,” the governor said at the George Washington Ballroom in Trenton.
Since the video surfaced of a police officer pressing his knee down on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes before Floyd died, protests erupted around New Jersey and the country. In Camden, the police chief joined protestors, council members and a state assemblyman walked with residents during a Franklin protest, a peaceful march in Summit drew over 1,500, a grassroots group organized in Jersey City, and residents held signs high in Hackensack.
“In the overwhelming amount of cases it has been side-by-side peaceful protests,” the governor continued. “People who are fed up with the early days of the fifth century of systemic racism in this country marching side by side…elected officials with members of law enforcement. It’s been really incredibly impressive, please let’s keep that up.”
Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, reported the second consecutive day of no executive order violations.
He noted a feeling of elation upon seeing daily police reports surrounding protests following a trend: “the gathering ended peacefully.”
“I think the rest of the country is looking at New Jersey and I hope they continue to do that,” Callahan said.
As he ended his remarks on Floyd, Murphy reminded protestors of the importance of wearing face masks, gloves and keeping their distance from others — with at least six more demonstrations scheduled for Wednesday.
Even as it lifts restrictions, the state continues to see new coronavirus cases.
“We don’t want this to reignite another wave of virus infection, that’s the last thing we need right now,” Murphy said.