SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – South Plainfield leaders, including the mayor, police chief, and members of the council, this week joined together to denounce the actions of the Minneapolis police officers and mourn the killing of George Floyd.

“As mayor of the borough, like all Americans, I was outraged by the senseless murder of George Floyd. We stand with George Floyd’s family as they mourn his tragic and senseless murder,” stated Mayor Matt Anesh in a June 2 letter to residents. “No words, written or spoken, can replace the loss of a loved one [and] ‘no words can easily repair the broken bonds of trust required between a community and the police sworn to protect and serve them. Only time can heal and only time will heal these recent wounds.”

“The South Plainfield Police Department offers its sincerest condolences to George Floyd’s family,” said James Parker, chief of the South Plainfield Police Department, also in a letter. “We hope his family finds solace and comfort through the support of the many communities who have collectively responded in positive fashion to his tragic death. It underscores how fragile the bond of trust between police and community can be and the efforts necessary to preserve the integrity of this relationship.”

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Since Floyd’s death on May 25, millions across the country, including here in the Garden State, have been protesting the injustice and racism experienced by generations. 

“We support the scores of peaceful protestors who stand and march for justice for the Floyd family,” said Anesh. “We support our officers, sworn to uphold the law and ready to serve our community in a fair and non-biased manner.”

While the borough police department, said Parker, ‘respects everyone’s right to protest and the need to gather for the purpose of discussion and reflection, it is imperative that all remain non-violent to ensure the discussion is neither muted or diverted by the actions of others whose purpose is mayhem rather than constructive dialogue.’ 

As chief, Parker stated that it is his ‘responsibility to ensure that [borough] police practices are conducted fairly and without bias throughout our community.’ This, he said, is accomplished through professional service that is both ‘accountable’ and ‘transparent.’ 

“Our agency is governed by contemporary rules and regulations. Our officers receive continuous training related to Use of Force, crisis intervention, and deescalation. All of which is representative of a progressive agenda to continuously improve our profession,” Parker said.

“Now is the time for collective prayer, reflection, and the continued efforts to maintain confidence and trust within our communities. It is my honor to lead the South Plainfield Police Department and serve our community during these difficult times,” added the chief. 

At a virtual meeting June 1, an invocation in Floyd’s honor was made by Councilman Robert Bengivenga, Jr. with the focus on ‘comfort, peace, and healing for not only his family but the nation as a whole.’ 

“Tonight, we pray for George Floyd and his family, we pray for our country, and that we come together and heal together as one,” Bengivenga said. 

During the meeting, Councilman Derryck White, following his committee report, also asked that the ‘community pray for George Floyd’s family, their healing and comfort’ and asked that we, 'as a nation, pray as well.'

Additionally, White told TAPinto South Plainfield that he was personally moved by the mayor’s and police chief’s public statements. “I was moved by their genuine and heartfelt letters. They spoke volumes about our community and set the tone for productive subsequent conversations and healing.”

“South Plainfield is a tight-knit community. What’s special is our sense of family. Our bonds are strong, and we hope they remain as such,” added Anesh“As our chief states, ‘now is the time for collective prayer, reflection, and continued effort to maintain confidence and trust’ within our borough.”

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