MILLBURN, NJ — Following a weekend of riots in major American cities after the death of George Floyd, a black man at the hands of Minneapolis Police, the Millburn Police Department released a pair of statements earlier this afternoon.
The first dealt with unconfirmed threats made on social media, advocating for the start of a riot in Millburn/Short Hills and other affluent suburban communities in northern New Jersey.
As of press time, the tweets and other posts were investigated by authorities, who declared that their investigations had not turned up enough tangible evidence to rise to the level of an immediate threat.
"The Millburn Police Department is aware of a number of threats targeting the Short Hills Mall. PD has responded accordingly and has found that there is no inherent danger to the public’s health and safety at this time," the department said in the first statement.
A follow-up call to Millburn Police Captain and Department Spokesperson David Bonney was returned. Bonney said that the department had no further comment on the matter at this time, other than what had already been released.
The second statement dealt with the murder of Floyd, who died in police custody when Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin left his knee on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes during an arrest. The incident was recorded on video from bystanders, and kicked off the protests nationwide that led to rioting, which was followed curfews and other measures by authorities to regain order.
In the second and lengthier statement, which was penned as an open letter from Millburn Police Chief Brian Gilfedder, the chief expressed his disgust with the conduct of the officers in the incident, and called for unity from all Millburn residents, among other topics.
The full text of the second statement is below:
“First and foremost, the Millburn Police Department (MPD) would like to send our condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd.
The actions of the police officers involved in the incident in Minneapolis, and specifically Derek Chauvin, are a disgrace to law enforcement. As I watched the murder of George Floyd, all I could think was what a horrific, inhuman and unacceptable act. This is a tragic loss of life. We want to assure the Millburn community that this behavior demonstrated by law enforcement professionals is something that will never be tolerated in Millburn Township. All of the officers that were involved in this murder must be held accountable.
We understand that this incident has brought up many emotions; however, we must not allow this tragedy to become a divisive wedge in our community. We must continue to strive for strength and unity. We pride ourselves on our relationship with our supportive community and seek to continue to hold ourselves to these high standards.
We continue to better ourselves as an organization and a community. Our Police Department is continually training on topics such as use of force, racial profiling, harassment, ethics and cultural diversity, among others. We continue to be transparent in notifying the community when our officers don’t hold themselves to these trainings and guidelines. MPD is also an accredited agency in the State of New Jersey, which demands adherence to strict guidelines. While we feel the strong support from our residents, we know that respect is earned. We will continue to listen and earn your respect.
Thank you for your support in these trying times and stay safe.”