NEW JERSEY — Protests continue in New Jersey this weekend as demonstrators across the nation march, rally and speak out against police brutality and systemic racism after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

In Newark, a coalition of North Jersey Muslim community groups have organized a rally to protest police brutality. It’s being led by the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) the New Jersey branch of ICNA Council for Social Justice (ICNA-CSJ), the Council of Imams in New Jersey (CIINJ) and the Muslim American Society New Jersey (MAS).
“The Muslim community of New Jersey unites in its condemnation of the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmed Arbery, Steven Taylor, and the senseless killings of countless other unarmed and innocent African-Americans,” CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said.
In Gloucester Township, a group of Highland Regional High School alumni will “Listen and Remember” during a Sunday memorial at Gloucester Township Community Park on Turnersville-Hicktsown Road. The memorial will begin at 7 p.m.
According to organizers, the memorial is intended to allow Black Gloucester Township community members to speak, and for other demonstrators to listen.
“Amidst all of the tragedy and injustice in the world today, we in Gloucester Township would like to take the time to shed a light on our black community,” the organizers wrote on their Facebook page announcing the event. “We invite you to come listen and reflect over the words of our own community members and other special guests in the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement. This is a time to absorb the words and learn from them, to create a safer community where diversity is celebrated and not targeted.”
A list compiled by Jay Viviani shows at least 11 other protests scheduled for this weekend in New Jersey, including:

  • Bridgewater
  • Florham Park and Madison
  • Plainfield
  • Union City
  • Woodbridge
  • Mount Holly
  • Somerville
  • Camden
  • New Egypt
  • Edison
  • Mystic Islands

Protests both locally and across the country have sparked intense debate about police brutality, and the use of force.

On Friday, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal outlined his plans for revising New Jersey’s “use of force policy,” and said he plans to issue a directive revising that policy “before the end of 2020.”
This initiative is part of Grewal’s Excellence in Policing initiative, which launched in December of 2019.
Grewal wasn’t the only one to speak up about the need for police reform, as New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker was among a number of high-profile Democrats to support the “Justice in Policing Act of 2020.” Booker, along with California Sen. Kamala Harris, sponsored the bill.
The bill would allow use of force only as a last resort, ban chokeholds, prohibit racial and religious profiling, make it easier to hold police accountable for misconduct and eliminate qualified immunity for police officers.
The bill would also ban the use of no-knock warrants, a move that’s already happened in Louisville, as, this week, Breonna’s Law was enacted in the city. The law is named for Breonna Taylor, the black Louisville EMT killed by police in her home on March 13 while officers were carrying-out a no-knock warrant.
Taylor’s death, along with the death of George Floyd, has sparked these intense conversations around reform, and also the nationwide protests.
Floyd, a 46-year old Minneapolis man, died on May 25 with the knee of a white police officer on his neck.
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who was captured on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, was initially charged with third-degree murder. That charge has since been elevated to second-degree murder.
The other three officers present at the time of Floyd’s death — Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao — have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, according to court records.
An independent autopsy revealed Floyd’s cause of death to be asphyxia due to sustained forceful pressure. Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson, who performed the autopsy, ruled his death a homicide.
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