CAMDEN, NJ — A police lieutenant shouted, “No justice!”
And hundreds responded, "No peace!"
Protests against police brutality have unfolded across the nation over the weekend following the death of George Floyd.
Perhaps nowhere as uniquely as in Camden, where officers and the police chief on Saturday stood hand in hand with clergy, residents and local city leaders to peacefully "march in solidarity" with Floyd.
The 46-year-old man could be seen in a video having his neck pinned down by a Minneapolis police officer moments before his death May 25.
Of the many poignant moments Saturday, director of United Community Center of South Jersey, Ronsha Dickerson, took to the mic in front of police headquarters on Federal Street.
"We are hurting," she began.
"I am numb. Listen we all have our differences," Dickerson continued. "One thing I know for certain, together with this is how we start. Let this ignite the fire, what you feel inside your system. Say it with me, protect black lives!"
The march lasted over a mile, from Mount Ephraim Avenue and Everett Street down to the police administration building.
"We thank you for giving us the sprit of unity," one pastor recited as Police Chief Joe Wysocki, police officers, and residents bowed their heads in prayer. "We thank you for our leadership...as we pray for our nation and the families in Minnesota, we ask that you allow our Camden light to shine very bright for this day and that we lead by example for others to follow."
Large bold signs were held high reading,"I Can't Breathe," "No Justice, No Peace," "Together We Are Strong," "White Silence is Deadly," Divided We Fall," and "Black Lives Matter."
Speaking to a crowd of hundreds gathered on Federal Street, Wysocki said that when he saw of the video that showed Floyd's death he could not believe it was something that could happen in the United States today.
"There is a duty to intervene as a police officer, and we're doing that here in Camden," he said, pointing to the department changing its use of force policy last year to focus on deescalation.
Council people, members of the school board, Congressman Donald Norcross, Superintendent Katrina McCombs and Mayor Frank Moran were all in attendance.
"Systematic injustices cannot continue, & we will march to unite change," Norcross tweeted following the rally.
Councilman Victor Carstarphen later said he was, "overwhelmed with happiness to be a part of our community, police department, clergy leaders, elected officials, along with our [congressman] marching together peacefully protesting the police brutality that is happening all across our country. What happen to George Floyd should not happen to any human."
Although Floyd's death is under investigation by a number of agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights division, Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill Mayer joined the CCPD in condemning the actions taken by the Minnesota officers.
"When a tragedy like this happens, it undermines the trust, progress, and work that we, and the police chiefs in this county, have done to improve the relationship between us and the community we serve," Mayer said. "It also highlights that there is much more work to be done and it cannot be accomplished by staying silent."
Derek Chauvin, seen kneeling on Floyd in the video, has since been fired and arrested. He was also charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other officers involved — Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng — were also fired.
Riots across Minneapolis throughout the week culminated in protestors setting fire to a police precinct.