MORRISTOWN, NJ – The George Floyd police brutality protests that have quickly swept the nation this week were on full display Saturday evening in Morris County as hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists band together for a funeral procession and vigil in honor of the 46-year-old African American who died while being apprehended by Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer on May 25th.
Activists rallied together at Morristown High School before driving and marching by foot over one mile to the candlelight vigil held at Ginty Field across the street from Morris Township Police Department. Along the way protesters peacefully voiced their concerns of police brutality while chanting phrases such as ‘No Justice, No Peace’ and ‘George Floyd.’ Another theme of the rallying cries was ‘we all stick together’ to show their solidarity in a movement that had great diversity.
The protests caused traffic gridlock in parts of Morristown and disrupted routine traffic patterns. Those who were driving to the candlelight vigil
Police officers from surrounding municipalities including Madison volunteered their support to ensure the safety of both the protesters and their law enforcement comrades. Police units were scattered across the route of the protest. Although there were several moments of protesters shouting at police officers – some of which included profanities – it did not lead to the violence that other parts of the country have seen.
Morristown Mayor Timothy Dougherty issued the following statement.
“Although I will not be able to attend this evening’s candlelight vigil in honor of George Floyd, I stand strongly with this effort. Both my wife and I will take a moment of silence tonight and mourn the loss of Mr. Floyd and those we have lost to senseless and reprehensible acts of brutality. I am encouraged by the Black Lives Matter movement and their work to bring these matters and the trauma caused by such acts to the forefront of discussions within our community.”
Meanwhile, Morris Township Mayor Cathy Wilson had the following statement:
“Like so many in our community, I am deeply shaken by the killing of George Floyd. This horrific incident has re-opened deep, unhealed wounds that have been part of our nation’s history for centuries and continue to this day.
I commend our local Black Lives Matter group for organizing a funeral procession to pay tribute to Mr. Floyd’s memory and shine light on the deeper meanings his death evokes. I know our police will do their part to ensure that tonight’s vigil is a safe and meaningful occasion for all. Let us honor George Floyd by finding new ways to engage in honest, productive communication about the feelings and issues his death and his legacy reveal.
I plan to reach out to various individuals and groups in the days ahead to assist in promoting the mutual understanding that’s needed for all of us to move forward in positive ways.
May God bless us all.”
Police brutality protests took place in other parts of New Jersey on Saturday including the state’s largest city in Newark with hundreds of demonstrators.
On Friday, Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder. The other officers involved in the arrest have not yet been charged.