United Black Agenda responds to police conduct at Bridgewater Shopping Center
The Coalition calls the treatment of black children by the police discriminatory and harmful
NEWARK – The United Black Agenda coalition (members listed below) today issued the following statement regarding police conduct in responding to a fight between two boys at the Bridgewater Commons shopping centre.
“We have all seen the video. Two boys – one black and one white – got into a fight at a shopping center in Bridgewater. The police arrive and, while simply placing the white boy on a bench, aggressively wrestle the black boy (named Kyle) to the ground and handcuff him, while bystanders watch and record.
“This shocking and discriminatory treatment is unacceptable and calls for disciplinary action.
“Our criminal justice system needs significant reform. Indeed, a black youngster in New Jersey is nearly 18 times more likely to be locked up than their white counterpart – the highest rate of racial disparity in the nation.
“How did we get here?
“It starts with the racist stereotype of black youth as ‘super predators’, with research showing that black boys and girls are seen as less innocent and more mature than their white peers.
“It starts with the disproportionate disciplinary action taken against black students, with studies showing that black students are disciplined harder and more frequently than white students for similar behavior.
“And it starts with the over-surveillance of black communities. Here in New Jersey, a black person is three times more likely to use force against them than their white counterpart. And, after arrest, black people are more likely to be entrenched in the criminal justice system.
“Black communities in New Jersey can no longer wait for meaningful criminal justice transformation.
“New Jersey must finally take a decisive stand to say Black Lives Matter in our state beyond the use of hashtags and platitudes.
“We can no longer wait for meaningful police accountability. New Jersey must immediately pass legislation to prohibit and criminalize law enforcement chokeholds, create municipal civil complaints commissions and ending immunity for law enforcement.
“We can’t wait any longer to save our children. Governor Murphy and Acting Attorney General Platkin must finally and immediately close New Jersey’s three youth prisons, two of which were closed four years ago – and invest $100 million in the communities most affected by the crisis. incarceration of young people.
“And we can no longer wait for the police to make good faith efforts to communicate with defenders and affected communities. To that end, we demand an immediate meeting with Bridgewater Police Chief Paul Payne to discuss this incident.
“We can’t wait for the next George Floyd. The next Maurice Gordon. Or the next Kyle.
“We are tired of waiting.
“Because, in the true words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (not the contemporary watered-down version used to support complacency), ‘For years I’ve heard the word ‘Wait!’ . . . This “Waiting” has almost always meant “Never”. We must come and see . . . that “justice too long delayed is justice denied”.
The United Black Agenda is made up of the following groups and representatives:
- Ryan P. Haygood, CEO and President and Andrea McCrian, Director of Law and Policy, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
- Elise Boddie, Founder, The Inclusion Project at Rutgers University
- Rev. Dr. Charles F. Boyer, Executive Director, Salvation and Social Justice
- Carolyn Chang, Past President and Current Chair of the Social Justice Committee, Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey
- Reverend Eric Dobson, Vice President, Fair Share Housing Center and Co-Organizer, Black Multifaith Alliance
- Reva Foster, President, NJ Black Issues Convention
- Jerry Harris, Board Member of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
- Richard T. Smith, President, NAACP New Jersey State Conference
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