SOMERVILLE, NJ - Activists and protestors will return to the lawn of the Historic Somerset County Courthouse on Saturday, June 13 for another demonstration against racial profiling and the deaths of black Americans while being arrested or in police custody.
Saturday's protest, like hundreds throughout New Jersey and tens of thousands nationwide, stems from the May 25 arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis. He was suspected of trying to pass counterfeit money at a convenience store, and while he was handcuffed, was held down to the ground by a former Minneapolis police officer with his knee pressed against Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd died of asphyxiation, according to two autopsies, and the officer, Derek Chauvin, faces second degree murder charges; three other officers, also fired the following day, face aiding and abetting charges.
A poster circulating on social media platforms advertises Saturday's event in Somerville as a peaceful gathering, as were last weekend's demonstrations on Friday, Saturday and back-to-back demonstrations on Sunday.
The first three demonstrations last weekend were contained to the lawn surrounding the courthouse on East Main Street. The Sunday afternoon protest, which drew over 1,000 people, broke from the lawn and spilled over on to Main Street, with marchers holding their protest signs aloft and chanting as they walked down Main Street and the sidewalks on both sides.
When they reached Doughty Street at the west end of town they turned around and headed back to the courthouse lawn where the demonstration continued.
Chants of “No Justice, No Peace”, “I can’t breathe!” and "Whose Streets, Our Streets" filled Main Street.
Driving down Main Street, cars honked, motorcycles revved their engines, and tractor trailers laid on their horns to show support Dozens of passengers held signs and fists outside their window in solidarity drawing cheers from the protestors.
Saturday's demonstration is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.