DOVER TOWNSHIP — The Board of Alderman rejected a call for a “Day of Healing” during Tuesday’s acrimonious meeting, following the release of video showing police officers punching a 19-year-old man during a struggle to cuff him and make an arrest.

The designation sought by Dover Mayor James Dodd aimed to turn the regularly scheduled Alderman meeting into a session to "hear residents’ concerns, communicate and come together as a community to begin the healing process."

The board rejected the designation after two hours of meeting, in which members of immigrant advocacy group Wind of the Spirit, the Morristown chapter of Black Lives Matter and the Urban League of Morris County addressed officials and demanded the officers involved be retroactively suspended without pay — recouping payments made while they're on leave — and their fired, according to the Daily Record.

Wind of the Spirit on its Facebook page before the meeting posted that it was wary of Dodd and the meeting, and said the "day" would not take their place of its right to protest.

"The Dover Police Department uses force at a higher rate than most other communities in New Jersey. ... It will be a long healing process, especially if this town avoids accountability and postpones justice," the group wrote.

The group said it's demands include the use of body cameras, testing and training.

After video of the violent arrest Cyprian Luke, 19, of Morristown went viral, Dodd said that Luke was a fugitive wanted for aggravated assault, and resisted attempts to arrest him.

“There is no reason for me to believe at this time that race played any role," Dodd said a tthe time. He also said he understands "that we live in an age of social media where there is a tendency to rush to judgment."

Dodd called the video "very disturbing" but asked everyone to show restraint until all the facts "come out."

Morris County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Peter DiGennaro said his office is investigating the incident as required by the state attorney general's office.

 

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

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