The killing of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis has sent shockwaves across the country, with law enforcement officials in New Jersey condemning the police action.

State Sen. Ron Rice, D-Essex, went as far as to call for the death penalty for the officer who killed George Floyd by kneeling on the gasping man's neck for several minutes.

In widely circulated videos of the arrest, Officer Derek Chauvin is seen pressing down on Floyd as other officers restrain him. Floyd repeatedly complains that he can't breathe and bystanders plead with police to help him.

Floyd's death sparked violent protests and unrest in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The precinct station in the area where Floyd was arrested was set on fire Thursday night.

The four police officers involved in the Floyd arrest were fired but they have not been charged with a crime.

“I think we watched a murder unfold on video," Camden County Police Chief Joe Wysocki said Thursday.

The chief said he would make sure his officers are trained "to have the knowledge and ability to navigate these situations."

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said Floyd's death was "deeply troubling and indefensible" and the video revealed "a startling lack of humanity by the police officers involved."

He said the relationship and trust between Burlington County's law enforcement and the community has been on display during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our officers have managed the added responsibility of enforcing significant restrictions on our normal activities with sensitivity to the stress that our residents are experiencing in the midst of this public health crisis," Coffina said.

Rice, a black former Newark police officer, told that what he saw on video of the incident "was clearly murder" and that Chauvin "deserves the gas chamber."

“I don’t care what color you are. You sit there and put knee on a man’s neck with your hand stuck in their pocket, that is an outright public homicide of the worst kind," Rice told

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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