A Black Lives Matter protest is planned for Sunday in Mindowaskin Park
WESTFIELD, NJ — (Updated at 6:45 p.m.) Riot gear at the ready and cleaning solution to combat coronavirus were the order of the day at police headquarters in Westfield as protestors rallied nearby.
Police Chief Christopher Battiloro in a statement Tuesday said the department was preparing for potential “localized mass gatherings” related to the killing of George Floyd — a black man whose death at the hands of Minnesota police has spurred civil unrest across the nation.
"The Westfield Police Department has been operating at an enhanced preparedness level and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future,” Battiloro said.
His announcement came on the same day organizers announced a Black Lives Matter peaceful protest at Mindowaskin Park is planned for Sunday, June 7. Organizers said the protest has the approval of the police department, the headquarters for which is located next to the park. The protest is set for 2:45 p.m., the announcement said.
Nearby to Westfield, around 2,000 people had gathered in protest at Nomehegan Park Tuesday evening. The county park is located in Cranford. While in Clark, organizers had circulated a flyer on social media calling on supporters to gather at a March for Black Lives at the Clark Commons shopping center on Thursday.
New Jersey has largely not seen the levels of violence reported in other places across the nation following Floyd's killing.
“By all accounts, we expect any demonstrations that may materialize to be peaceful, and there is no information indicating any specific, credible threats posed by any of these gatherings,” Battiloro said. “It is our intention to stand in solidarity with any peaceful demonstrators as a reflection of our department’s values.”
TAPinto Cranford editor Robert Ramirez and TAPinto Clark editor Elizabeth Parascandola-Clee contributed reporting.
Email Matt Kadosh at email@example.com | Twitter: @MattKadosh
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