ROBBINSVILLE, NJ -- Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried said it plainly on Wednesday in a message to the community: "It is impossible to deny that racism exists."
"While we are not proud of this fact, we feel it is our responsibility as a government, as a society and as human beings to do all we can to be part of the change. We are outraged by what has happened, not only in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Ferguson, North Charleston and Atlanta, but in communities all over the United States when people are brutalized, murdered, shot and otherwise treated unfairly," said Fried.
The Mayor's message comes as the Country, State and County face protests and riots in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
"In law enforcement, the taking of another person’s life should ALWAYS be a last resort and never something any of us should be desensitized to," added Fried. "Making sure our officers are properly trained is of paramount importance. Taking a life should be avoided at all costs, and we can only have that assurance if our officers are properly trained."
Robbinsville Township Police Department (RTPD) Chief Christopher Nitti also spoke to the community on Wednesday though a message on social media. The Chief noted that "as a department, we are deeply disturbed by what occurred in Minneapolis."
"The RTPD continuously trains for 'Use of Force' encounters, 'Racially-Influenced Policing' as well as various de-escalation techniques," said Nitti. "In addition, we recently added an incredibly effective training simulator at Miry Run which affords us the opportunity to live train on specific scenarios. It helps our officers become more comfortable in every situation, so they can act - and react - accordingly."
The Chief noted that building a relationship between the police department and community has been a priority of his.
"I ask that you not allow the actions of the officers in Minneapolis to reflect poorly on every other officer in the nation who took the oath to protect and serve," said Nitti. "I have faith that we will learn from this and grow stronger together as a community ... and as a society."
Fried echoed the sentiment saying that "We have spent years working on community policing, and as a result Robbinsville has one of the safest and most diverse communities in the region."
The Mayor announced that there will be a "Night of Unity” created by Robbinsville Township and local faith-based leaders to bring the community together. The Unity event will be held on Sunday, June 7 at 6:00 pm at Robbinsville's West Town Center Lake Gazebo. Attendees are asked to observe social distancing. Face coverings or masks will be required.
"I ask everyone to pray for our nation," said Fried. "We need to do better, and we owe it to the next generation to make sure this world is a better place for them. We will only accomplish this by working together and allowing love - not hate - to flourish."
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