A “f*** the pigs” chant at a “Black Power Rally” in Jersey City yesterday is drawing strong reactions citywide, with the mayor, police union president, and Black leaders all weighing in.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
On Saturday, Black Men United Jersey City held what they referred to as a “Black Power Rally” at Berry Lane Park to address national and local problems with the police.
Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted a 20-second cell phone video from the event where it showed demonstrators chanting “f*** the pigs,” writing that he supports civil demonstrations and protests, but not “inflammatory + infectious rhetoric which only further divides us like this.”
“Obscenities being hurled at police officers who risk their lives every day is unacceptable, we should agree this isn’t an appropriate way to express grievances + it undermines calls for change.”
In response, the BMUJC page quote tweeted the mayor’s post and wrote “next time we’ll scream ‘F*** Fulop!’ too. #OffThePigs“
Nevin Perkins, the founder of the group, explained his position in a phone interview with HCV.
“What we’re trying to cultivate in Jersey City and North Jersey is principled, disciplined, proactive organizing. Anytime there is an incident of police brutality, we have made the mistake of being reactionary. We called it a ‘Black Power Rally’ because that’s what it is, a call for Black Power and a call to action for our people. We need to be proactive in protecting out community from police violence,” he said.
“We’ve always had a strong disdain for JCPD and Fulop, but perhaps we are vocalizing this disdain more due to Fulop’s hypocrisy in telling our people ‘he sees us.’ We’re at the space now where we’re not just gonna bite our tongue. In terms of actually engaging … there were multiple opportunities before the ‘f*** the pigs’ chant took place to do so.”
He also said Fulop should be publicly addressing any potential instances of brutality, such as when 31-year-old Jeremy Pearson was struck by a police vehicle during a drug pursuit earlier this month.
In July, the mayor came out against defunding the police and has since firmly maintained his position. The Jersey City Council approved a $658 million budget the following month without any cuts to public safety during a marathon meeting.
Additionally, Jersey City Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Carmine Disbrow said in a statement that these actions and “hateful language” make it more difficult for officers to do their jobs.
“Actions like these, and the use of such hateful language that is unacceptable in any situation, only makes policing more challenging. We remain committed to engaging in productive dialogue and advancing efforts that keep our members, and the residents we serve, safe.”
Pamela Johnson, the executive director of the Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement, said that she spoke at the event despite the fact that her group was not one of the organizers and left feeling that there is a lot of work to do.
“Our youth are frustrated and we have to find a way to hear their points of view to gain an understanding of where it stems from. JCAVCM works with law enforcement and we know they are a key part of the change that’s needed, and together with the community, we can get there!”