ELIZABETH, NJ - A community meeting was held last Wednesday evening at the Tru Life Church located on Bond Street in Elizabeth to give residents a chance to meet and greet with newly appointed Police Director Earl Graves, and members of the Union Country Prosecutors Office.
Graves was appointed by Mayor Bollwage after the resignation of former Director James Cosgrove.
Mayor Bollwage appointed Graves, at a special meeting on June 26.
Activist Salaam Ismial, an opponent of the selection process for Graves, and a catalyst through the whole process that led to former Director’s resignation, explained to those gathered at the meeting that this was to be an olive branch of sorts extended to the new director, and to introduce Graves to the community at large with an opportunity for Q&A. The invitation extended to Graves received no response according to Ismail.
Detective Darin Williamson, a 27 year veteran of the department was in attendance and took questions from the group.
"Everyone in here knows. I have a relationship and rapport with you, we are family, ” Detective Williams said. Williams went on to reassure the group that their concerns were being heard.
James Carey who operates a food bank in the area said, ”I find it insulting. Everyone in here should be insulted. They pacify us and they know we will accept it. He should be here,” referring to the absence of the Director.
Detective Williamson encouraged the group to keep trying to develop dialogue. To give Mr. Graves an opportunity.
Carey assured Detective Williamson that his frustration was not directed at him personally. In closing the meeting Ismaill encouraged the group to keep organizing.
A request to the Mayor's office late Friday afternoon and Monday for details of why the new Director did not respond to the email request went unanswered.