In NJ, cops and Black Lives Matter protestors alike mourn Dallas police
Following the deaths of five cops during a protest over police brutality in Dallas, departments across New Jersey are mourning.
Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Al Della Fave says police leaders are telling cops to be more alert in the wake of Thursday night's shootings.
"Every cop leaves their home every day knowing that there's a chance they may be involved in something that will affect their safety," he said. "But you move on, you do your job and keep it into the back of your mind. You can't let it affect your performance in the field. You can't allow these senseless violent actions to alter your life in any way."
The Middle Township Police Department invited the public to a prayer session led by Pastor Scott Durbin at noon to mourn the five officers killed.
In Newark, Sergeant of Public Information Ronald Glover says Mayor Ras Baraka and Police Director Eugene Venable were set to hold a press conference at 2 p.m. to discuss the Dallas shootings and how officers are responding.
Thursday, a group of protestors in Newark blocked traffic in the city to protest the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. Protestors also took to the streets of Jersey City on Thursday, NJ Advance Media reported, where they stopped outside of Mayor Steven Fulop's fundraiser at Zeppelin Hall.
Multiple other protests are expected this weekend, one at Newark Penn Station on Saturday and one near police headquarters on Clinton Avenue Friday evening. In New Brunswick, protestors are marching through the streets today at 5:30.
In response to protests, the Jersey City Police Department will be remaining vigilant, said spokesperson Jennifer Morrill.
She said Jersey City officers have a strong relationship with the public, in part due to the diversity of the police force. In the past, she said the department had public safety meetings earlier in the year with the public to the national conversation on police brutality.
(The Jersey City Police Department) "is keeping the families of the fallen Dallas police officers and all the people of Dallas in our thoughts," Morrill said.
The gunman killed in a standoff with Dallas police, 25-year-old Micah Johnson, said he wanted to kill white police officers, Dallas Police Chief David told reporters at a press conference Friday morning.
But John Burns, acting chair of Black Lives Matter New Jersey, says the organization is mourning the Dallas cops along with police.
"We don't believe that police officers are our opponents," Burns said. "As far as the Dallas shooting, that is crazy to us that there was somebody talking about killing white people. Our movement has nothing to do with that."
In working toward repairing the relationship between officers and the public, Burns said, the movement offers "healing spaces" where members of the community and police officers can talk about the issues of police brutality.
With most community engagement forums, Burns believes public dialogue is stifled.
"We need a system where the community can voice its complaints with the police and not fear apprehension," Burns said.
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