An affective When Justin Jacobs had a question for Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer and other law enforcement officials, they all gathered together to discuss it. Was what happened in Memphis, where five police officers are facing murder charges in connection with Tyre Nichols’ death, a model for how to deal with police violence against civilians?
It was Jacob who posed the inquiry. On Friday, after Nichols’ murder, a town hall meeting was called to talk about police tactics. A traffic stop resulted in serious injuries for the 29-year-old, who died three days later. The event, hosted by the Prosecutor’s Office at Ocean County College, drew in New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin and police chiefs from all throughout the county.
Jacobs, a Black citizen of Toms River, NJ, pointed out that the five Black Memphis police officers were fired and charged much more quickly than their white counterparts. Jacobs, his voice shaking with emotion, described his fright when he was recently pulled over by an officer on his way to a friend’s house in the evening.
“I want to know if what happened to those Black officers if that now becomes the template?”
“I am sorry you felt that way when you were pulled over,”
”I think it is the new template. You are checking us. The public should expect us to act that way.”
According to Platkin, the state of New Jersey has implemented mandatory police training in de-escalation and is working toward a licencing system for police that will make it simpler to remove poor cops from the department. Platkin explained that
“There has to be trust, in order for us to do our jobs,”
So that everyone could do their jobs properly. However, he claimed that incidents like Nichol’s death undermined the state’s progress toward greater police accountability, such as the implementation of body cameras for officers, the revision of the state’s use of force policy, and the provision of training to police on how to deal with people suffering from mental illness.
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- After Tyre Nichols’s Death, Memphis Police Deactivate Scorpion
- Memphis Police Release Video Showing Tyre Nichols Fatal Beating
Barnegat Police Chief and current Ocean County Chiefs Association president Keith A. Germain recently stated that law enforcement needs to do a better job of sharing the measures they are taking to improve community engagement.
Sixth police officer suspended following fatal beating of Tyre Nichols pic.twitter.com/q5JI7nAv7e
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) January 30, 2023
“If, when we show up, you look at us and have to worry about a negative interaction, we aren’t doing it right,”
After seeing the video of Nichol’s beating, Billhimer and the other police officers expressed their disdain and hopelessness. Billhimer got choked up as he recounted how his 16-year-old daughter was so distressed by the video that she had to stop watching it.
“The issue is the complete lack of humanity,”
the prosecutor said.
”That was depraved to me.”
“the incident in Memphis really moved me,”
Said Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives Anthony Carrington. Carrington is a Black man with three sons, two of whom have followed him into the police department. Carrington called the dismissed Memphis police officers ”thugs in a police uniform,” adding that law enforcement must make special efforts to reach out to all groups because the dismissed officers have become ”the face of law enforcement” for many.
Former Lakewood NAACP president Dr. Fred Rush has called for further police department diversity.
“I don’t know where we are in trying to get more people in uniform who look like me,”
”Let’s try to get more people who look like the communities we live in.”
According to Platkin, all police departments in the state are required to record their demographics so that they can be compared to those of the surrounding communities. He conceded that there is much work to be done until there are more people of colour among the state’s police force. Asaiki Simon, a resident of Jackson, has said she has trouble trusting law enforcement.
“Trusting the police is extremely difficult for me,”
”I will have more faith in this group when we don’t have to wait for something to happen to have a meeting like this.”
For nearly 38 years, Jean Mikle has covered politics, government, and the environment along the Jersey Shore. Tweet to her (@jeanmikle) or email her (email@example.com).
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