WESTFIELD, NJ — Contrasting larger and often jarring protests across the state and nation, demonstrators in Mindowaskin Park Sunday spoke of cooperation between law enforcement and the local community as they condemned police violence elsewhere.
“Stop Police Brutality,” “Justice for George Floyd” and “Racism in not Welcome in Westfield” were among the words written on signs students showed as they walked through the park located adjacent to the Westfield police headquarters.
“We came together as a community to cry out, to say that we do not support any type of violence or any type of hurt upon any type of people,” said Dawn Nichol-Manning, a Westfield resident who with her daughter, Alee Nichol, 15, organized the demonstration. “We know that Black Lives Matter.”
At the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Westfield, signs spread across a fence stating, “SAY THEIR NAMES,” “George Floyd,” “Ahmaud Arbery.”
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Elizabeth Wolf, president of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Westfield on Sunday posted photos of the signs to Facebook amid a weekend of protests across New Jersey and riots in other parts of the nation.
Mayor Shelley Brindle in a statement had acknowledged the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota.
“There is simply no room for this utter disregard for life that continues to perpetuate harmful race and police community relations,” said Brindle.
She detailed local reforms in the Westfield Police Department, which are being implemented following the appointment of Police Chief Christopher Battiloro.
“We are fortunate to have a Police Department that is committed to fairness, transparency and community policing, which includes newly initiated body-worn cameras, bias training and the first-ever full review of the department’s Standard Operating Procedures,” Brindle said.
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