NORTH HALEDON, NJ - On Wednesday, North Haledon Mayor Randy George made a departure from his typical coronavirus-news related messages to the borough to discuss the issues surrounding the death of George Floyd, as well as other related matters.  His letter reads below:

Dear Resident,

This letter will be different from my usual daily letter regarding the pandemic. 

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The last few days our country has seen civil unrest of a magnitude that I have not seen since I was a youth in the 1960s.  This unrest arose because a video showed a handful of rogue police officers abusing their power and causing the death of an African American man.  While these officers are entitled to due process and a fair trial, there is no place for this behavior, and it cannot be tolerated.  Moreover, if convicted, the other officers that watched should also be charged for standing idly by while this outrageous behavior took place.

In North Haledon, the Council and I have hired and known some of the finest police officers in the County.  I can assure you that the officers portrayed in the video from Minneapolis are in no way reflective of any of the members of the North Haledon Police Department.  Our fine officers would never do anything like you saw on that video; I can assure you.

The first amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of assembly.  It states in pertinent part “Congress shall make no law … abridging … the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances.”  In this instance the protests are based upon a just cause because every resident in this country deserves to be safe and free from discrimination.  George Floyd should never be forgotten nor should the other victims of prejudice and racism.

Unfortunately, some rogue elements have attempted to hijack these meritorious protests to loot and destroy fellow citizens’ properties and threaten lives.  This rogue behavior has put the police and other authorities in an adversarial role trying to protect its citizens and property while protecting the right of others to peaceably assemble.  I encourage people to lawfully and peacefully protest if that is their desire, but also want to make it clear that I am vehemently against the violence that is being caused by the rogue elements trying to take advantage of this situation.  Please let us all stay focused on the issues at hand and not get distracted.

Yesterday morning I read a post on Facebook that indicated that a young Afro-Latino woman was verbally abused and racially harassed by two individuals while jogging in North Haledon.  I have instructed the Police Department to investigate this matter further.  This is not what North Haledon is about and this is not acceptable behavior.  If anyone has any information on the individuals that were involved in this incident, please contact the North Haledon Police Department at (973) 423-1111 and speak to Acting Chief Todd Darby.  We take this allegation very seriously.

I am saddened that I have to write this letter, but I felt that to be silent would be a disservice to the community.  You need to know clearly where your mayor stands on these issues.

God Bless America.

Randy George, Mayor

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