CARTERET — The mayor's office denies accusations that he "hijacked" a march to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The Carteret Community Unity Walk for Peace  started Thursday afternoon at the Carteret Middle School and made its way to the Noe Street and Civic Center Parks on Parshing Avenue.

"The Borough of Carteret stands in solidarity with the organizers of Thursday’s Walk for Peace & Justice and the Black Live Matter movement," Mayor Dan Reiman wrote on his Facebook page with a picture of Floyd.

"Our Borough is a melting pot of diversity which we will celebrate peacefully on Thursday .We hope you are able to join us in this peaceful assembly to support our brothers and sisters," Reiman wrote.

On the Facebook page "My Carteret, Blocked by Dan Reiman," a post by Kelly Motley Jones said that the mayor "decided to take over and take credit."

"This was put together by some of the young adults of Carteret who are saddened and tired of police brutality against people of color. It is not to bash police but to hold them accountable just like they want us to be held accountable," Jones wrote.

Borough spokesman Jon Solonis said two college students contacted the mayor's office via email and spoke to Reiman about getting involved and speaking at the event.

"They asked us to support the Black Lives Matter walk and we are happy to support the movement and the march. As you can see from social media, there are agitators from out of town, including white supremacists and internet warriors looking to create a problem and cause division. The mayor and police are here to walk in unity with the marchers," Solonis said.

Email from two residents asking Carteret mayor Dan Reiman about a march (Carteret Borough)
Mayor Dan Reiman's response to an email from two residents asking Carteret mayor Dan Reiman about a march (Carteret Borough)

Solonis identified one of the residents as Kelly Motley Jones' daughter Lauren Jones. He said he doesn't know what caused the change of heart and they two young women were involved in planning for the march.

Kelly Motley Jones and Lauren Jones did not respond to messages seeking comment for this story.

The website StandForNJ.org citing unnamed source said that police were uncomfortable being at the event because Reiman's brother Joseph was acquitted last year on charges of pummeling then-16-year-old Monte Stewart, who is  African American, after he fled police and crashed his car in 2017.

The verdict led Mayor Reiman to excoriate then-Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey, calling on the state Attorney General’s Office to investigate the “corrupt” prosecution that “put every officer in my town in jeopardy.”

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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