NEWARK -- In the wake of Friday’s early morning crash in Newark, New Jersey, where two teenage boys died in an SUV reported stolen, coupled with Saturday night’s quadruple shooting of four young women attending a vigil for one of the boys, Monday night’s previously scheduled community meeting couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I’m not an anti-gun advocate. This is America," Newark resident Chris Sykes said. "You have a right to protect yourself, and bear arms. But the question is how to do keep the guns out of the hands of the people who are gonna use them for bad things. Like the gang members, like the drug dealers. Like the criminals in general. Newark needs more cops."
This meeting was held to address police accountability – specifically a recently released, comprehensive report on local police officers’ use of force.
But Lawrence Hamm, executive Director of the People’s Organization For Progress told the crowd all of these issues – thefts and robberies, gun violence, and excessive force by police…are all connected.
The struggle to stop the violence in our community, and the struggle against police brutality in our community are indivisible. It’s the same struggle,” Hamm said.
Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake told PIX11, “I support our police officers. It’s something were to happen, and I felt unsafe, I wouldn’t call the ghostbusters. I’d dial 911. But what this is about, is that making sure we have accountability for an issue that is nationwide. The police cannot police themselves.”