SOMERVILLE, NJ - Though Saturday's crowd was smaller than those that gathered last weekend to protest for social justice, their collective voice was passionate and strong as they set off on a march through the downtown district, beyond Borough Hall and back to the Historic Somerset County Courthouse to keep up the pressure and focus on the death of George Floyd while in police custody May 25th in Minneapolis.
It was the fifth demonstration in the borough since last Friday, with yet another to come on Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m. at the courthouse complex on East Main Street. It is being promoted as "family friendly," suitable for moms with kids and strollers, and will feature a chalk art session on the sidewalks surrounding the courthouse to memorialize victims of police brutality around the nation. Sunday's group will also follow a route through town, beginning on South Bridge Street, turning on to the Division Street pedestrian mall before entering West Main Street and continuing to Borough Hall, then a short distance on Mountain Avenue before heading back to the courthouse on West High Street.
Tormel Pittman, a New Brunswick resident who promotes himself as an activist on his Facebook page, returned to lead Saturday's march as he had done last Sunday. He led the march of 2-300 protestors down Main Street, following the same route as will Sunday's protestors.
Speakers included Art Morrison III, a Somerville High School graduate and local businessman, who encouraged the assembled protestors to maintain their commitment for change and to demand social justice.
Saturday's protest, like hundreds throughout New Jersey and tens of thousands nationwide, follows 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.